Tips for a Successful Application

General Tips for a Winning Submission

  • Double-check all your materials to see if they meet all of the requirements. Evaluators cannot read attachments that are incorrect file types (see attachments).
  • First impressions count. A neat, well-organized application that is easy to follow during the evaluation makes a big difference. Have a colleague proofread your application before submission. 
  • Make sure you address every question asked on the submission disclosure questions under the narrative summary boxes for each category. 
  • When organizing your application, it is important that you do not feel obligated to answer every example under every section (i.e., policy, training, outcome, etc.) Quality is more important than quantity; these suggestions are there to help you formulate and shape the materials you submit. Not every example may apply to your application. Feel free to include other activities that may apply to that section. 
  • Lists and graphs/charts are very helpful to illustrate your accomplishments. 
  • Scan any articles and photos that you want included in your overall 10-page/10 MB attachment. The scanned items should be incorporated into the one 10-page/10 MB attachment per section. Do not forget to use captions and dates telling the evaluators what a picture is showing and how it applies to your program. Generic or staged photographs should not be used. 
  • You should not feel the need to reach the character limit for the narrative text boxes. Again, quality is more important than quantity; only provide information that is pertinent to your agency. 
  • Enforcement statistics are outputs, not outcomes. Use the outcomes section to explain the impacts of your efforts. 
  • The majority of evaluators will represent or have experience working with state and local law enforcement in the United States. If your agency is required to follow different standards, it will be important to explain those in the application. International agencies should provide a brief description of their laws and procedures. 
  • No videos, audio, web-links, or computer-based presentations allowed, as they are not compatible with the fillable PDFs.

Narrative Text Boxes

Narrative text boxes are provided for each main category. The narrative text boxes are where agencies should provide evaluators with highlights of their year-round efforts that provides a synopsis of the detailed topical attachment. The summaries should have a minimum of 500 characters and a maximum of 2,000. Each letter, number, symbol, and space counts as a character.

We recommend using a word processing program (ex. MS Word) to create your narrative and then cut and paste the narrative into the relevant boxes.


Agencies may submit one 10-page (10MB) attachment for each section of the application and one attachment of the relevant policy/policies for each section. Evaluators are looking for supporting documentation (graphs, analysis of statistics, tables, etc.). You can include information and descriptions of other year-round efforts that could not fit in the narrative text boxes in these attachments, but be sure that at a minimum, your attachments support what you wrote in the text boxes. Also, be sure to include captions and explanations of graphs, photos, and tables.

IMPORTANT: Be sure to follow the exact naming convention for each file:

"agencyname_city_state_sectionname" (e.g. CLEC_ Sacramento_CA_Speed).

Files that are incorrectly named may not be available for judges to evaluate.

Problem Identification

Applicants are required to describe the process that was used to measure and evaluate the problem in each category. Items to consider include:

 • Crash analysis to determine places, days, and times when incidents occur

• Causes of crashes

• Speed surveys

• Seatbelt surveys

• Community input


Applicants must attach an actual copy of their policies. Evaluators need to see the policy along with critical information, such as the date it was written, title, etc. Do not just type in the wording of your policy – a copy of the actual policy is required. Any policies submitted must be compiled into one document.

 • Include only the page(s) with the necessary information, not the entire policy. If your belt use policy is one page of a 14 page policy, you only need to include the pertinent information and passages.

• If your agency has no policy for the requested areas, provide a brief statement saying so – do not make the evaluators search for something that isn’t there.

 • Do not say that you have a policy, and then neglect to include it.  You will not receive points unless each policy is included.

      • Enforcement policies are clear directives emphasizing the importance of impaired driving, speeding, seat belt, and child safety seat enforcement for your agency. Enforcement guidelines should be specific – they should provide guidance to officers conducting enforcement operations.
      • Guidelines may be part of a policy/procedure statement; agency goals and objectives; operational plans; or internal memorandum. 
      •  The policies should be directed to all agency members, not just a traffic unit. 
      •  Neither a copy of the state law nor a memorandum “recommending” belt use or enforcement in the target areas is considered a policy.


Applicants should develop written plans to target the issues identified in the problem identification. Plans should include elements such as:

• Description of the problem

• Measurable objectives

• Activities (enforcement, education, engineering, etc.) that will be used to accomplish the objectives

• Days and times that activities will be scheduled

• Monitoring of activities

• Evaluation


Training of Officers

 Attach supporting documentation outlining the training conducted/received by officers. Provide a narrative about the training your agency conducted/received during the past year. Include the percentage of officers trained in each category. Also include other recent training over the past few years that still may be applicable today (child passenger safety technicians, crash reconstructionists, etc.)

• Do not include training that has nothing to do with the categories.

• Do not include basic academy training or FTO training unless it is relevant to the category. For example, if all new officers receive radar training for speed enforcement in the academy, that should be included in the Speed Awareness training section.

• If you say officers were trained, you must show your documentation.

• Do not include entire training manuals, certificates, or rosters of each class conducted.

• Be sure to provide the percentage of sworn personnel trained and the type of training conducted (many programs can be used over several roll call training sessions – take advantage of this type of training). This could be done through use of a table, chart, matrix or other graphic that lists the training, dates, and numbers attended.

• Provide a brief narrative of all of your training activities: how was it conducted? Roll call, training bulletins, cross-training, formal and informal schools, seminars, and conferences should all be included.

• Consider including a matrix of the types of training provided and how many officers were trained or refreshed in their training.

• For past training, include what is still relevant today (i.e. child seat techs, crash reconstructionists, etc.). The past 3-4 years would be sufficient if that training is still being utilized by that person today.

• Please make sure no personal information is included (personal addresses, social security numbers, personal phone numbers).

Incentives & Recognition

Attach supporting documentation and examples (should be included in the attachment for supporting documentation, not exceeding 10 pages/10 MB) regarding incentives and recognition of officers. Points are awarded under the Outcomes section for agencies that reward officers for a job well done and citizens who practice safe driving. Rewards and incentives are important elements in letting people know that traffic safety is a priority in the community and the agency. Here are a few examples: 

    • Participation in “Saved by the Belt” programs (state or local). If you have a program that recognizes motorists, you should include information on how many were recognized in that past year as well as supporting documentation – photos, certificates, etc. Different programs, of a similar nature, may also be included. 
    • Recognition of officers for efforts to reduce impaired driving. 
    • Recognition of officers for efforts to reduce speeding. 
    • Recognition of officers for efforts to increase the use of occupant protection. 
    • Recognition received by the agency for traffic safety efforts.

You must include supporting documentation on officers recognized – photos, certificates, etc. Do not include recognition that is not traffic safety related.

Public Information & Education

In their supporting attachments, agencies should include detailed information on their efforts to promote the issues of occupant protection, impaired driving, speed-enforcement, and traffic safety. Show your creativity in promoting your programs. Provide a narrative of your public information and education efforts and of your efforts to publicize highly visible enforcement throughout the year. Tell the evaluators what you have done and how you got the message out to the public.

This is where agencies need to document non-enforcement activities they participated in during the year to address these topics. Activities could include: citizen police academies (if traffic safety was a topic), high school mock DUI crashes, posters, signs, billboards, educational pamphlets and brochures, child seat programs, press releases, website information, newspaper articles, photos, and other similar items. Agencies should also include their non-enforcement participation in state and national campaigns such as Click It or Ticket, National Drunk and Drugged Driving Prevention Month, National Child Passenger Safety Week, etc.

  • Show the evaluators what you have done: photos/news articles/letters/etc. (ensure these have captions that tell us what they are). 
  • Give details on each activity/program, how often it was used, and how well it worked. Who was involved? Did you build community partnerships?

Enforcement Activity

  • Attach charts, graphs, and other documentation regarding increases/decreases in enforcement. The numbers should make sense compared to the number of officers in your department. 
  • Include the number of special enforcement efforts. State not only the number of special enforcement efforts, but also what they were. How many were for speed details, how many impaired driving checkpoints or saturation patrols, how many details targeting red light runners, etc. 
  •  Provide a narrative explaining in detail what you accomplished in these waves. 
  •  If you have shown an improvement over previous periods or years, show it. Your attached narrative should explain annual numbers and any improvement over the past 3-5 years (recent data – not from 10 years ago).


The secret to this section is very simple: do the research and find the data. This is not only important to complete your application, but it will help you evaluate and build your entire traffic safety program(s). This section can be used as a barometer of how well your agency is doing.

At a minimum, address your traffic program’s effectiveness in the following areas: 

  • Change in safety belt use.   
      • You must show the difference. What was the change in the belt use rate in your jurisdiction   during the year? If it is already high, how did you keep it that way? You are required to conduct seat belt use surveys both early and late in the year. 
  • You must show the numbers of speed and alcohol related fatalities and injury crashes.
      • How do they compare to previous years? 
      • Use graphs and charts to illustrate this change. 
  • If you state “unknown” you will not get credit. Do the research. Find the data. 
  • Your effectiveness documentation should also include results of your programs in terms of crash reduction, seat belt use, speed, etc. 
  • Provide a narrative of your effectiveness. How did the programs change your results and did the community support your efforts?
  • How many total crashes during the year and how did it compare to previous years? 
  • Are you conducting traffic crash analysis? Where are your top five problem crash areas? What is causing these crashes? Are you directing proactive enforcement to these areas to target the violations contributing to crashes and injuries? 

While this may seem difficult for smaller agencies, it is always a good idea to keep track of this data. It can be used to help plan and make program decisions in your agency and help you determine how to allocate resources.

Evaluators will be looking for information such as: 

      • Did your safety belt use rate increase? 
      • Did your total crashes decrease? 
      • Did your total injury crashes decrease? 
      • Did your alcohol or speed-related crashes decrease? 
      • Did the number of crashes related to your state/local priority decrease? 
      • Can you show the effectiveness of your PI&E activities? 


It is important to remember that enforcement data is not an outcome. It is one of the tools that you might use to achieve an outcome. Analysis of the data, however, can be a useful tool in shaping your answers to many of the questions in the Outcomes section.


Supporting Page