Tips for a Successful Application

    Learn what it takes to be a winner in the California Law Enforcement Challenge

    A neat, well organized application that the judges can follow easily during their scoring process makes a big difference. If they have to hunt for the information, they may not even take the time to find it.

    Quality is far more important that quantity! Just because you fill volumes of notebooks, it doesn't necessarily impress judges who can see through "filling space" to the real meat of the program information. Remember no more than a one inch binder.

    Be concise, but thorough. You are competing with hundreds of other agencies, and the judges' time is limited so they will be looking for clear information and innovative ideas - not innovative ways to fill out an application. What your agency is doing in the community is what is important, not how fancy you make the application container. You can use photos to heighten your presentation but remember the judges will see through a pretty package if there is nothing to back it up.

    Make sure you provide answers for every question asked. If your answer is no to a question or you don't have the statistics or participate in programs, explain why. Otherwise, the judges will look for the information and deduct points if you don't explain. Some applications have failed to make the grade because they left out vital information. Use your submission and judging sheet from the year before as a guide to improve on the quality of your submission.

    Organizing the Application

    Policy and Guidelines
    1. Provide actual copy of the policy and guidelines for safety belt use within the agency/office as well as enforcement policy on safety belt, child passenger safety restraints, speed, and impaired driving enforcement.
    2. Include only the necessary page(s), not the entire policy of the agency!
    3. Highlight the appropriate sections/wording.
    4. State law is NOT your agency policy, but your policy can state you follow state law.
    5. If your department has no policy, say so. Don't make the judges search for it.
    6. If you say you have a policy, REMEMBER to attach it in a way that it will not be separated from the rest of your application.
    7. Guidelines can also include goals and objectives.

     

    Training
    8. Provide a narrative of the training conducted or received during the past year in occupant protection, impaired driving enforcement, speed related, and any other traffic safety related training.
    9. Include the PERCENTAGE, not number, of officers trained.
    10. Do not include training that has nothing to do with the traffic safety.
    11. Do not include basic academy training.
    12. Do not include the entire manual.

     

    Incentives & Recognition
    Additional points are awarded for agencies that reward officers for a job well done and citizens that practice safe driving. Rewards and incentives are important elements in letting people know that traffic safety is a priority in the community and to the agency. This chapter must include supportive documentation. Points are awarded in the following areas:
    13. Participation in Saved by the Belt/Airbag programs (for officers and citizens)
    14. Recognition of officers for DUI Enforcement
    15. Recognition of officers for Speed Enforcement

     

    Public Information and Education
    16. This section is VERY important. It addresses all of the "non-enforcement" activities your agency participated in during the year. The bulk of the points for this chapter are given based on your efforts to promote the issues of occupant protection, impaired driving, and speed enforcement.
    17. Show your documentation. Include samples of news articles, pictures, letters, posters, your Web site, press releases, etc. But please DON'T send videos of your media coverage or events. As good as these might be, the judges simply don't have the time to view them. You should describe the activities and documents (e.g., news coverage by the number of broadcasts, number of stations, and amount of air time). A few photos, interspersed among the description of your program efforts are usually most effective to help the judges envision your efforts.
    18. Write detail narratives on each activity/program, and tell the judges what you did; give details on how well it worked or didn't work, then explain why; who was involved; and how you were able to form effective partnerships in your community with businesses, other agencies, civic associations, and legislators.
    19. Document participation in National and/or local Mobilization Waves (Click It or Ticket, Checkpoints, etc).

     

    Enforcement Activity
    20. The application page should show three most recent years of statistics. Your narrative for this chapter should explain the annual numbers and any improvement. Give them the numbers! Show what you have done! Compare to the previous years.
    21. State the type of traffic safety special enforcement efforts your agency participated in and how many times during the year. Explain in detail what was accomplished. DO NOT give a number without explanation of your program activity.
    22. If you have shown improvement over a number of periods or years, show it.

     

    Effectiveness of Efforts
    23. This chapter can be used as the barometer to tell how effective your agency is within the community. The use of graphs can be very effective in this chapter.
    24. What was the change in safety belt use in your community during this time?
    25. Show the number of speed-related and alcohol-related crashes. How do they compare to the previous years.
    26. Include the results of your special enforcement programs.
    27. Did the community support your efforts?
    28. Are you conducting traffic crash analysis? Where are your top 5 problem crash areas and what's causing the crashes?

     

    Quality of Submission
    29. The judges will look at how well you organized your application. Does the submission follow the order of the application?
    30. Remember there judges are reviewing hundreds of submissions. Make things easy to find, by using the application order.
    31. Spell out all acronyms.
    32. Make your submission unique to your agency and programs. Be creative!
    33. DO NOT send more than ONE one-inch three-ring binder or bound submission. Remember quality over quantity.
    34. DO NOT send any videos or audio tapes. For video Public Service Announcement consider including a "freeze-frame" photo.

     

    Special Awards
    On the application check only the awards your agency would like to be considered for. There must be a separate chapter for each award consideration. The following are the special award considerations your agency can apply for:
    • First Time Entry
    • Bicycle/Pedestrian Safety
    • Speed Awareness
    • Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety
    • Impaired Driving
    • Underage Alcohol Prevention
    • Motorcycle Safety
    • Occupant Protection
    • Child Passenger Safety
    • Technology

    Special Award considerations are judged based on the efforts to promote traffic safety within the award category. This may be information that was summarized in the Public Information and Education chapter but needs to be more detailed for the award consideration.

    A neat, well organized application that the judges can follow easily during their scoring process makes a big difference. If they have to hunt for the information, they may not even take the time to find it.

    Quality is far more important that quantity! Just because you fill volumes of notebooks, it doesn't necessarily impress judges who can see through "filling space" to the real meat of the program information. Remember no more than a one inch binder.

    Be concise, but thorough. You are competing with hundreds of other agencies, and the judges' time is limited so they will be looking for clear information and innovative ideas - not innovative ways to fill out an application. What your agency is doing in the community is what is important, not how fancy you make the application container. You can use photos to heighten your presentation but remember the judges will see through a pretty package if there is nothing to back it up.

    Make sure you provide answers for every question asked. If your answer is no to a question or you don't have the statistics or participate in programs, explain why. Otherwise, the judges will look for the information and deduct points if you don't explain. Some applications have failed to make the grade because they left out vital information. Use your submission and judging sheet from the year before as a guide to improve on the quality of your submission.