Sherwood police gets $45,500 grant for DWI, traffic enforcement

By Greg Rayburn / Editor /
Thursday, October 22, 2009 11:16 AM CDT
The Sherwood Police Department received a $45,500 grant from the Arkansas Highway Safety Office for the Selective Traffic Enforcement Program, also known as STEP.

According to Lt. Cheryl Williams, public information officer for the department, the grant provides overtime compensation for city police officers for enforcement of certain violations including driving while intoxicated, driving under the influence (for minors), speeding, seat belt and child restraint laws. The grant also provides limited funding to purchase child safety seats.

Williams said these child seats are loaned to families in Sherwood who are in need and who cannot afford to buy them.

“Make no mistake,” Police Chief Kel Nicholson said. “Our message is simple. No matter what you drive — a passenger car, pickup, sport utility vehicle or motorcycle — if we catch you driving impaired, we will arrest you. No exceptions. No excuses.”

In Arkansas in 2008, there were 171 alcohol-related fatalities reported which marks a 10-percent decrease from the previous year, according to Williams. ADVERTISEMENT

“An additional area of concern is occupant protection where in 2008 there were 265 unrestrained passenger vehicle occupant fatalities,” Williams said.

The safety-belt rate in Arkansas for 2008 was 70.4 percent, while the national use rate stood at 83 percent. However, Arkansas’ safety belt use rate increased to 74.4 percent in 2009, Williams said.

“Also of concern are speed-related fatalities, where in 2008, 63 people died as a result of speed-related crashes,” Williams said.

In Arkansas in 2007 there were 218 alcohol-related fatalities reported. This is a decrease of 8 percent from the previous year. An additional area of concern is occupant protection where in 2007, 65 percent of the recorded vehicle occupant fatalities were unrestrained. The safety-belt rate in Arkansas for 2007 was 69.9 percent, while the National use rate stood at 82 percent. Arkansas’s safety belt/child restraint use rate for children under 15 years old was 75.5 percent in 2007. However, Arkansas’s safety- belt use rate increased to 70 percent and the child restraint use increased to 78.7 percent in 2008.
Strict enforcement of the state’s traffic laws, through STEP, has proven effective in reducing traffic crashes and fatalities, Williams said.

The grant concludes Sept. 20, 2010.

“The Sherwood Police Department is pleased to be a partner with the Arkansas Highway Safety Office and other law enforcement agencies in Arkansas to make Arkansas a much safer place to operate a motor vehicle,” Williams said.