YPD gets grant money for traffic enforcement efforts

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April 7, 2009 - 3:30 PM
The Yuma Police Department has been awarded a total of $83,350 in grants to make the streets safer.

The first grant, a Selected Traffic Enforcement Grant was for $63,350, and the other is a $20,000 grant to combat drunken driving.

The grants come to the state from the National Highway Safey Administration and are disbursed to local agencies by the Arizona Governorís Office of Highway Safety.

"These grants aren't relied upon, but they are critical to how we run our DUI program and some of our traffic enforcement programs," said Officer Clint Norred, spokesman for the police department. "Without them, we wouldn't be able to have the level of enforcement that we currently have."

Norred said the money will be used to purchase a speed monitoring trailer, DUI evidence collection equipment, child safety seats, and to provide overtime pay for officers to conduct traffic and DUI enforcement and education activities.

"In addition to flashing your speed, the trailer also has the capability to display safety messages to pass along important information to the public," Norred said.

He said the equipment and the overtime will be used for public education activities and the enforcement of traffic laws pertaining to impaired driving, aggressive driving, speeding, red light running, and seatbelt and child restraint usage, in efforts to reduce serious injury and fatal accidents in the city.

Norred said money from the traffic grant was used to purchase two phlebotomy chairs, one of which was standard and the other was a prisoner restraint chair.

"If we had someone who was combative, and we needed to draw blood, we could safely secure the person without risking harm to them or the officer," Norred said.

Money was also used to purchase car seats.

The Governor's Office of Highway Safety previously gave the police department a $40,000 Highway Safety Grant that went for the purchase of a vehicle for use against drunken drivers.

With the acquisition of that vehicle, all officers assigned to the department's DUI unit have vehciles of their own. The department got its first DUI enforcement vehicle about four years ago.

James Gilbert can be reached at jgilbert@yumasun.com or 539-6854.