On March 15th, 2021, the General Assembly passed House Bill 1360 to establish the Law Enforcement Family Relief Trust Fund Program. The Law Enforcement Family Relief Trust Fund Grant Program, established by Act 765 of 2021, is a grant awarded to provide financial assistance to the family of an Arkansas-certified law enforcement officer who identifies as one of the following: (1) killed in the line of duty or (2) diagnosed with a terminal illness by a certified medical professional. The grant program allows all eligible applicants to apply for relief assistance on a case-by-case basis. Additionally, the grant program allows Arkansans to contribute relief funds through tax contributions.
Per Act 765, regarding the Law Enforcement Family Relief Trust Fund Grant Program, the Secretary of the Department of Public Safety or their designee is required to award funds. Effective March 1st, 2022, the Department of Public Safety Secretary, Jami Cook, established the Law Enforcement Family Relief Trust Fund Grant Committee, as her designee, consisting of five Arkansas law enforcement representatives to assist in the grant selection process. Specifically, Secretary Cook has designated Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy (ALETA) Deputy Director, to serve as chair and Arkansas State Police Director, vice-chair, respectively. The remaining three grant program committee members will consist of the following:
- Chief of Enforcement, Arkansas Game and Fish
- Sheriff representative to be designated by the Arkansas Sheriff’s Association
- Chief of Police representative to be designated by the Arkansas Association of Chiefs of Police
For interested applicants, eligibility consideration for the Law Enforcement Family Relief Trust Fund Grant Program, detailed under provision ACA § 26-51-2511, requires the following criteria:
- The need of the family;
- The salary of Arkansas-certified law enforcement officer; and
- Any other factors that establish the family’s financial hardship.
For interested Law Enforcement Family Relief Trust Fund Grant Program Donors, under provision ACA § 26-51-2511, Act 765 allows for the Secretary of the Department of Public Safety to “accept any gifts, grants, bequests, devises, and donations made to the State of Arkansas for the purpose of funding the Law Enforcement Family Relief Check-off Program, and deposit any gifts, grants, bequests, devises, and donations received under this section into Law Enforcement Family Relief Check-off Program.” Specifically, the statue provides there to be a “check-off” opportunity on individual State tax forms to allow donors to make contributions to the Law Enforcement Family Relief Trust Fund, either by designating part or all of a refund due to the taxpayer, or by including a separate check if the individual owes additional taxes. Further, the included statues also provide for donations from Corporate Income Tax filings. Click here to learn more about the Check-Off Program.
The Law Enforcement Family Relief Trust Fund Grant Program is tentatively scheduled to open for applicants by May 1st of 2022, pending Arkansas Legislative approval. Below is the tentative grant application related to the upcoming Grant process: