8 ways police departments can fund 3D scanners

With challenges and high demands of law enforcement, technology such as 3D scanning has become a necessity for many agencies. 3D scanners can provide significant time savings alone by accurately “freezing” the scene in 3D.

Using 3D scanners also decreases the work hours needed to measure a scene and collect evidence by 50-85% which can have a significant impact on an agency’s budget. For example, Clackamas County has reported saving more than $73,000 in overtime costs alone in 32 months by switching from total stations to 3D scanners. In addition to the time-savings, agencies benefit from shorter road closures and fewer secondary crashes, with more data captured, rendered in impressive 360-degree views not obtainable through traditional methods of documentation.

While powerful technology to help law enforcement is readily available, finding the budget can prove to be a challenge. In collaboration with Lexipol, here is a guide to 8 alternative ways to fund 3D scanners.


1. Grants

Grant dollars are available to support law enforcement technology purchases. These can be at the federal or state level. FARO® is a sponsor of PoliceGrantsHelp, which can be a great starting point. Here you can search for grants and get free assistance finding and applying for the right grant. They also offer additional grant-writing services for a discounted fee through the PoliceGrantsHelp program.

2. Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) Funding

Financial institutions are required by federal regulations to reinvest in their communities. This is monitored on a federal level at a minimum of every three years. Under federal regulations, financial institutions must show that they are reinvesting money back into the communities in which they do business. Financial institutions can do this by making grants, low-interest loans, or donations to community organizations. 

If interested in this program, you should contact your local bank either at the end of the calendar year or at the start of the new year and keep in mind fiscal year planning. It is also important to make sure this project is visible to the public and be prepared to demonstrate its impact.

3. Donations

Local businesses can benefit from a tax deduction by donating to qualified organizations. Qualified organizations include, but are not limited to, federal, state and local governments, and volunteer organizations. It is especially advisable to reach out to businesses and organizations that have previously worked with the municipality to see if they would be interested in supporting your project. We also encourage you to make community leaders aware of the project, as they are part of these groups and may be able to provide a donation/sponsorship to support the purchase of this equipment/technology.

4. Foundation Funding

Foundations can be a great source of funding, especially if you are already aware of the foundations in your area. You should start by contacting a foundation representative to explain what you are looking for. Ask about the application process and if there are deadlines for submission. This conversation can help you determine if your application is eligible and what the process is. 

If you need assistance locating a foundation in your area, you can find a directory at your local library or contact the team at PoliceGrantsHelp for assistance. 

5. Economic Development Tax Credits

Tax credit programs are designed to encourage businesses to invest in projects which improve distressed areas. To qualify for this program, it is important that the project supports a distressed area or neighborhood preservation. The categories that qualify for this include affordable housing programs, community services, crime prevention, education, job training or neighborhood assistance. Tax credits can be upwards of 55% for participating businesses. Work with your local Planning or Economic Development Department to determine if they can apply on behalf of your department.

6. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Assistance

The USDA operates a Community Facilities Program. This allows public safety departments to access financial assistance for purchasing equipment and constructing or renovating their station. Departments can get assistance through a direct grant, a direct loan or a combination though this program. Your eligibility for this funding is contingent on your area’s demographics. The population of your area must be less than 20,000 according to the latest US Census data, and your median household income must be below USDA thresholds. To determine if you are eligible, you should contact the regional USDA office. You can check the USDA website to determine which regional office serves your area and a representative can determine your eligibility, as well as the possible amount of grant or loan dollars you could receive.

7. 3D Scanner Leasing

FARO has leasing options available to fit your needs with minimal risk. Leasing can be an option to always have the latest equipment to stay on the cutting edge of technology. Agencies can also have the option to spread out the purchase cost over 1-5 years. Programs include deferred payments, annual, quarterly, or monthly payment options, 0% interest options and other flexible options structured specifically for an agency’s requirements. To learn more about this program, request more information here.

8. Criminal Asset Forfeiture Funds

Criminal asset forfeiture is a form of confiscating assets and property that were proceeds or instruments of a convicted crime, such as, but not limited to, terrorist activities, drug-related crimes and other criminal offenses. The purpose of criminal forfeiture is to create a monetary return from the seized property through public auction or a similar method, the proceeds of which benefiting public safety and law enforcement. The process and distribution of these funds vary by the jurisdictional particularities of the crime. It is also important to note that asset forfeiture programs operate under the authority of local, state, and federal laws. The Executive Office for United States Attorney’s is responsible for managing all forfeiture-related budgets and they should be contacted for more information.1

1These alternative funding options were provided in partnership with Lexipol.

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