Law Enforcement Trust Fund

Sheriff Gregory Tony recognizes the vast quantity of services that not-for-profit organizations provide residents in Broward County. Sheriff Tony understands LETF are vital to our mission of connecting with youth and providing programs, mentorships and assistance and is committed to supporting these agencies in any way he can. As such, he has streamlined the process for organizations to ensure the process is fair and funds are distributed equitably to most qualified, deserving organizations.

Under the auspices of Florida Statute, Chapter 932.701-706, "Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act," BSO has funds available for distribution in the Broward community. These funds are better known by their common name - Law Enforcement Trust Funds (LETF).

The Florida Statute was established to allow law enforcement agencies to seize and forfeit any contraband that have been used in the commissions of felonies. This includes vehicles, vessels, aircraft, real property, cash or any other item of value. The cash or proceeds from a sale of the seized items go into the Law Enforcement Trust Funds account for use by the law enforcement agency.

Under the law, the Broward County Board of County Commissioners is responsible for holding the funds in the trust until they are used. However, a feature of the Florida Statute allows BSO to use these funds for community purposes (FS 932.7055). The law states:

After July 1, 1992, and during every fiscal year thereafter, any local law enforcement agency that acquires at least $15,000 pursuant to the Florida Contraband Forfeiture Act within a fiscal year must expend or donate no less than 15 percent of such proceeds for the support or operation of any drug treatment, drug abuse education, drug prevention, crime prevention, safe neighborhood or school resource officer program(s). The local law enforcement agency has the discretion to determine which program(s) will receive the designated proceeds.


Law Enforcement Trust Fund - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the Law Enforcement Trust Fund (LETF)?

LETF contains funds awarded to the Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO) as a result of successful forfeiture litigation in State court and participation in the Federal Assess Sharing Program. In accordance with F.S. 932.7055(5)(a), the Statute requires no less than 25% of the last fiscal year’s revenues be donated in the form of grants to nonprofit programs in Broward.

Who is eligible to apply for an LETF grant?

Nonprofit organizations in good standing and with an active 501(C)(3) are eligible to apply. The organization must serve residents of Broward County.

LETF funding is allocated fairly to a variety of programs in Broward County to address gaps and service needs. Awarded organizations have included entities such as schools, community-based non-profits and foundations, Divine 9 (African-American fraternities/sororities), behavioral health agencies, and faith-based organizations.

What types of programs may receive LETF grant awards? What activities and services can be funded through this grant?

Applicants must successfully incorporate in their proposed programs LETF statutory requirements (Crime Prevention, Safe Neighborhood, Drug Abuse Prevention and Education) as well as Sheriff Tony’s priority initiatives: Diverting youth from the criminal justice system, reducing gun violence, and programs that assist the homeless and mentally ill. The proposed program must serve residents of Broward County.

Many funded programs work in the public schools or provide after-school and summer programming to encourage youth to perform well academically, stay in school, focus on career planning and secondary education, address bullying and gun violence, and foster teamwork and personal growth. LETF programs also address the unique needs of children in/or who have aged out of the foster care system, LGBTQ youth, domestic violence survivors, homeless, veterans, and those with histories of mental health and/or substance abuse.

In the past, LETF funding has assisted organizations with funds to pay for services and items such as therapy, laptops to assist with tutoring, college tours to inspire at-risk youth to continue their education, food bank distribution to address food insecurity, transportation to after school programs, life coaching, case management, and driver’s education for foster youth to achieve normalcy.

How does an organization apply for LETF funding?

When a new grant funding cycle opens, information to include the date of the mandatory application workshop will be posted on the BSO website as well as on BSO’s social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

All interested organizations are required to attend a mandatory application workshop. While this has been typically held in person in previous year, the future workshop might be hosted online due to the pandemic crisis. By making the workshop mandatory, BSO ensures every potential applicant is aware of all LETF requirements and how to complete each section of the required application. Potential applicants are made aware of how to submit their application as well as the deadline for all submissions.

How are LETF grant applications submitted to BSO?

For those organizations with representatives who attended the mandatory workshop, applications will be made available on the BSO website for completion and submission. Applicants must ensure applications are submitted per instructions guidelines to include all required signatures, notarization, and attachments. Application that fail to meet the minimum submission criteria may result in application denial.

How are LETF grant applications reviewed by BSO?

The LETF grant is very competitive due to a large pool of interested applicant organizations. All applications that meet minimum submission criteria are reviewed and rated by an objective BSO rating panel. Those BSO employees volunteering on the panel receive a rating orientation and must sign a conflict of interest form to attest they do not have a relationship with the organization whose application they may be rating.

Utilizing a uniform rating tool, each application is rated by two panel members who score proposals against the questions/criteria in the application. If their scores have a difference of 20 or more points, a third rater reviews the application, and the score outside of the closest two scores is discarded. A final list based on the score ranking is submitted to the Sheriff as a funding recommendation. All proposed projects for funding are reviewed by BSO’s Office of the General Counsel to ensure the projects meet LETF statutory purpose requirements. All recommended grant recipients are voted for final approval by the Broward County Commission.

How does BSO ensure LETF grant funds are distributed to the most qualified and deserving organizations?

Every application is rated fairly and uniformly as previously described. Those applicants who receive strong scores are successful at making a compelling case for funding by clearly illustrating service needs and/or gaps in Broward County and demonstrating, based on their organization’s history and experience, how they can effectively engage the target population. Every applicant agency is screened to ensure it has an active status in Sunbiz, has active non-profit status with the IRS, and is not on the convicted vendor list on Sam.gov.

What is a typical grant award amount?

Applicants are welcome to apply for grants for $10,000. Please note, LETF funds are not intended to support entire programs. Recipients have 12 months to expend the funds for their funded program.

When is the next open grant cycle for Fiscal Year 20-21 LETF funds?

Information on the next grant cycle has not yet been determined. When the cycle does open and a mandatory application workshop date has been set, information will be made available on the BSO website as well as through BSO’s social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

How can I inquire more about the LETF grant?

Inquiries can be sent to the BSO Grant Coordinator via email at LETF@sheriff.org.