Forty grant project directors in Michigan oversee the enforcement activities of more than 175 law enforcement agencies across a vast geographical area. Keeping grantees fully informed about the administrative responsibilities of managing federal funding can be a complicated and time consuming task, especially when key personnel leave the position.
To re-energize overtime enforcement grant project directors in learning about federal grant management requirements and corresponding administrative responsibilities, the OHSP Police Traffic Services Team created a “Grantee Boot Camp” and presented it in five locations across Michigan.
While developing the traffic enforcement plan for the FY 2016 Highway Safety Plan, and overseeing the traffic enforcement program in progress during FY 2015, the team spent two months reviewing and “deconstructing” the grant management requirements and report forms. They simplified them as much as federal regulations would allow, from the grant application to reporting requirements to enforcement flexibility. The team created Quick Guides – step-by-step information in a bulleted, easy to understand format – and an assortment of traffic safety information and resources.
A military "basic-training" theme was developed for the Grantee Boot Camp to inject a new and interesting approach to a complex topic that included a military marching cadence playlist and a grant binder presented electronically to participants.
To go along with the theme and to minimize costs, "Boot Camp" theme labels were printed for placement on bottled water at the meetings. The Seat Belt Referee, a cardboard figure developed for a Click it or Ticket news event, was reused and transformed into a military drill instructor, and a seat belt enforcement zone sign was incorporated into the “set” for the Boot Camp presentation.
Participants received a hard-copy grant binder with a Boot Camp theme page in the form of a field-training manual that contained all of the pertinent information needed to efficiently plan, manage, monitor and report on their projects. The information was reviewed in an open discussion format, with an opportunity for team members to clarify various details. Project directors were guided through Michigan’s online grant application system and encouraged to complete the FY 2016 grant applications during the meetings.
Feedback was unanimously exceptional. One sergeant wished the training would have happened earlier in the year because it allowed him to network with other project directors that manage overtime for multiple local police agencies. The sergeant also learned a new way to keep track of the hours/dollars used by the local police agencies and was very grateful for instruction given at the camp.
This is a great example where SHSO staff worked together to develop an economic and effective way to energize training on federal grants administration, which can otherwise be a dry subject. With some imagination, internal resources, and repurposed items from prior campaigns, states can create an event that meets their training objectives, but is still fun and engaging for grant project directors.
- Ms. Jamie Dolan, Northern Michigan Regional Program Specialist
Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning