Dallas County solicits applications for New Directions in Public Safety Grant Program

This week, Dallas County opened an online portal through which Dallas County cities and groups of cities may submit applications for grant funding to support their implementation of alternative response models aimed at reducing police intervention during 911 calls in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and homelessness.

This New Directions in Public Safety Grant Program is one initiative launched as part of Dallas County’s Working Group on New Directions for Public Safety & Positive Community Change, which was established in June at the request of Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. The program’s stated objective is “to provide seed grants to help cities and groups of cities address the crisis of criminalization, mental health, poverty and homelessness and utilize alternatives to police response and incarceration to more properly address the needs of Dallas County residents.” 

The Dallas County Commissioners Court approved of $3 million in funding for grant awards in Sept. The grants are intended to support cities throughout a two-year period, and the amount of funding awarded to a select number of cities and/or groups of cities will be determined during the grant evaluation and decision process. 

All proposals submitted before the Dec. 14 deadline will be evaluated based on the following criteria by a committee comprised of representatives from Dallas County’s Criminal Justice Department, Public Defender’s Office, District Attorney’s Office, Sheriff’s Office and Office of Strategy Management. 

  1. Ability to significantly improve the quality, scope or delivery of 911 responses to mental health, substance abuse and homeless calls.
  2. The degree of experience the submitter has in providing the intended services.
  3. Ability to meet reporting requirements and timelines for completion as set forth by the Dallas County.
  4. The administrative and programmatic capacity to manage the volume of work.
  5. Ability to sustain program and services beyond grant term.
  6. Other factors determined to be in the best interest of the county in the county’s sole discretion.

Grant-award recipients will be asked to provide information and data to The Institute for Urban Policy Research at The University of Texas at Dallas to support the institute’s development of an evaluation tool to monitor the effectiveness of the programs developed by the cities.