The California Office of Traffic Safety announced in June that it would award $82 million in traffic safety grants to 203 agencies and communities across the state.

As part of this program, the Blythe Police Department will receive approximately $83,000 over the next year.

The funds, which come from a federal source, are administered by the Office of Traffic Safety, a part of the State's Business, Transportation and Housing Agency.

This grant will allow the Blythe Police Department to continue the fight against impaired driving and assist in the enforcement of traffic laws aimed at saving lives.

Much of the new grant activities will work toward keeping basic, tested practices operating during these times when cities and counties face cutbacks.

There will be emphasis on sobriety checkpoints and innovative strategies targeting repeat DUI offenders.

All the activities undertaken as a result of grant funding are directly tied to the California Strategic Highway Safety Plan adopted in 2006.

The award to the Blythe Police Department includes funding for overtime to conduct sobriety checkpoints and DUI saturation patrols in addition to other operations targeting repeat DUI offenders.

Blythe Police Motor Corporal Troy Fabanich remarked, "This grant will provide officers with opportunities to educate the public regarding the dangers of drinking and driving and to reduce the number of deaths and injuries due to DUI through enforcement operations."

The Blythe Police Department hopes to continue with the forward momentum we have gained in our traffic programs in the last two years."

The grant will also provide much-needed equipment for sobriety checkpoints and other operations, in addition to money to send officers to training mandated by the state.

Blythe Police Chief Steve Smith said, "The Office of Traffic Safety has provided us with the opportunity to train our personnel and equip them with state-of-the-art tools for education and enforcement.

"It is our hope that we will be able to reduce the number of traffic-related injuries and deaths through education, encouragement and enforcement of California's traffic laws."

In an effort to help stem the increasing number of motorcycle deaths and injuries, the Blythe Police Department will also conduct enhanced enforcement of DUI and speed laws aimed at motorcycle riders.

The Blythe Police Department joins the California Office of Traffic Safety, the California Highway Patrol and agencies statewide in this lifesaving effort.

For more information, contact Community Service Officer Elizabeth Wallace at the Blythe Police Department, (760)922-6111 ext. 225.