Peninsula police get nearly $1 million to fight drunken driving
By Joshua Melvin
San Mateo County Times
Posted: 11/11/2009 06:55:53 AM PST
Updated: 11/11/2009 06:55:59 AM PST
Drunken drivers, scofflaws and speeders may want to think twice.
A handful of San Mateo County cities have landed nearly $1 million in grants that will pay for additional DUI checkpoints, extra patrols and new equipment such as motorcycles and the latest in technology for catching speeders.
"The grant assistance from the Office of Traffic Safety is just what we need to combat drunk driving," said San Bruno police Chief Neil Telford, whose department got about $80,000.
The Office of Traffic Safety is a state agency that hands out grants every year to entities that work to reduce the number of deadly accidents on California's roads. San Mateo, Daly City, South San Francisco, San Bruno, Pacifica, Half Moon Bay and Redwood City all received the funding, which must be spent by the end of September.
"Last year in California, 1,029 people died in alcohol-impaired crashes, a 9 percent reduction in deaths from 2007," said Christopher Murphy, director of the Office of Traffic Safety. "This grant will help keep that trend going by getting drunk drivers off the roadways."
Most of the money will go to pay the overtime for officers who work at DUI checkpoints or are sent out on late patrols in search of drunken drivers. However, a large chunk of the cash will go toward new equipment. About $35,000 of South San Francisco's $137,500 grant will go to a new mobile command center that will be used as a base for DUI checkpoints or during
emergency situations such as earthquakes, South San Francisco police Sgt. Bruce McPhillips said. Daly City will use about $120,000 of its $331,000 grant to buy four new motorcycles, officials said.
In Pacifica, officers will get new LIDAR speed guns, which are similar to traditional radar guns but use a laser to capture the speed of passing motorists. The advantage of a LIDAR gun is that it allows the officer to choose which vehicle he or she wants to clock, which is difficult with radar guns because they tend to record the speed of the largest vehicle passing by, Pacifica police Capt. Dave Bertini said.
The money will also help cities fill the gap left by shrinking city budgets.
"As our traffic unit has been reduced by budget cuts over these past years, it becomes even more important to extend our resources," San Mateo police Chief Susan Manheimer said.
cash to fight drunken driving
Several Peninsula cities received a total of nearly $1 million in grants to enforce drunken driving and other traffic laws. Here is a list of what those cities received and how they will spend the money: South San Francisco: $137,500 for a new mobile command center, new equipment and officers' overtime
San Bruno: $80,900
Daly City: $331,100
Half Moon Bay: $61,000
Redwood City: $130,000
San Mateo: $89,900