Dublin Police Dept. to Receive $62,000 Grant
By STEPHANIE MILLER
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The Dublin Police Department is getting more money - $62,000 to be exact.
DPD has recently been notified they will receive another grant from the Governor's Office of Highway Safety (GOHS) for its H.E.A.T. enforcement units for the period of October 1, 2008 to September 30, 2009. H.E.A.T. stands for Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic.
"We are very happy and thankful to the Governor's Office of Highway Safety for giving us the grant,"said DPD Sgt. James Champion, who supervises the H.E.A.T. unit. "The grant is very important to us to be able to put the extra officers out there and let them be dedicated to getting the drunk drivers and speeders off the roadway. And the grant is very competitive. It's only rewarded to departments that have a need for it. It's not something given lightly."
Champion said Dublin was averaging three to five wreck fatalities every year inside the city limits, which indicated something had to be done. The H.E.A.T. units have been the answer.
"Now we're down to only one in the past 18 months," he said. "The grant's important for us to continue the H.E.A.T. program so that we can provide more service to our citizens and make the roadway safer. The last couple of years our fatalities have gone done to almost zero...That is mainly contributed to the work of these officers who are out there to make our roadway safer."
The grant is for the purpose of reducing impaired driving crashes, reducing excessive speeding, increasing the use of seat belts and to educate the public about traffic and driving safety.
State H.E.A.T. grants total $3.3 million and will fund 27 specialized traffic enforcement units in strategic high-risk locations across the state.
From Oct. 10, 2007 to Sept. 30, 2008, the Dublin H.E.A.T. unit made 151 DUI arrests, issued 1363 speeding citations with a minimum speed of 15 miles per hour over the speed limit, issued 703 seat belt citations and 113 child safety seat violations. There were 1271 traffic crashes, 289 injuries, one fatality, according to Champion.
He said during the same time period 15 percent of all crashes involved injuries. A total of 45 DUI crashes happened with 32 injuries and one fatality which involved alcohol.
The H.E.A.T. unit has also taught 51 classes at Dublin High School and civic groups. With the increased focus on seat belt use, Dublin has maintained an average of 81 percent usage rate for seat belt usage during the 2008 grant period.
Champion said during the coming year the H.E.A.T. unit will continue to coordinate with the GOHS for waves of high visibility concentrated patrols, multi-jurisdictional road checks, and sobriety checkpoints. The H.E.A.T. also deploys as part of the GOHS quick response team called The Rolling THUNDER Task Force that includes all Georgia H.E.A.T. teams. During their first two deployments, THUNDER Task Force operations reduced highway fatalities in the Savannah-Chatham Metro Area by 58 percent in 2007 and reduced traffic deaths by 87 percent in Bartow and Paulding in 2007.