Safety grant approved for police
By: Max Hackett
Source: The Herald-News

Sometimes sounding like a salesman as he emphasized the bargains he was offering, Dayton Police Chief Chris Sneed convinced the Dayton City Council that it should obligate $34,400 in matching funds so that his department can apply for a Governor’s Highway Safety Grant. If the grant were awarded, the department would receive a total of $68,800.

“We can get all this equipment at half-price, and we’ll be able to retain the traffic officer we hired three years ago, and it will all cost $5,000 less than the cost for the traffic officer if we don’t apply for the grant,” Sneed said.

The cost for the traffic officer is $41,500 including overtime, vacation and benefits.

Sneed explained that the department was first awarded the highway safety grant in 2006 and had used the funds to hire a traffic safety officer. The funding match from the city was 10 percent in the first year.

“We got another grant last year and our match was 25 percent,” Sneed said. “In the third year it is a 50 percent match. In the past we’ve picked up half a dozen radar units and five in-car cameras, but this year they have opened up what’s available to us, so we can purchase some other equipment we really need.” Sneed said the department would purchase three new in-car video camera systems, a cargo trailer to haul traffic cones, signs and barriers to driver safety checkpoints and child safety seat checkpoints, and a portable speed sign that would be placed at roadside locations and would flash motorists’ speed as they pass by. The money would also be used to buy an on-scene intoximeter and toys for officers’ use in comforting children.

“We’ve got five patrol cars equipped with the cameras, so this will bring us to eight,” he said. “It would cost us $17,300 to buy those three camera systems, but we can get them at half-price with the grant.”

Sneed also noted that the cameras could be used under a variety of circumstances.

“The cameras are going to end up paying for themselves. It’s not just traffic stops and DUIs. When we pull up and there’s two folks fighting in the yard, we’ve got a record of that and you’ll see fewer cases go to court and won’t have officers having to go to court, and that’s going to save money.”

Sneed went on to assure the council that the grants received in the past have benefited the city.

“We’ve been very, very successful with these grants. They’ve given us well over $500,000, and we’ve gotten every grant we’ve applied for, so I feel we have a very good chance of getting this grant,” Sneed said.

The city council voted unanimously to obligate the city to pay its portion of the requested grant.

Max Hackett can be reached at