Highway safety grants received

By ALLEN MINCEY Staff Writer
Posted 9/23/17

Local law enforcement and the District Attorney General’s office will be receiving grants to support local highway safety initiatives.

The Tennessee Highway Safety Office and Tennessee …

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Highway safety grants received

A GRANT from the Tennessee Highway Safety Office will be used at the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office by the Public Service unit. Members of the PSU are, from left, front row: Deputy Brandon Coffel, Public Safety Lt. Cheryl Holloway, Public Safety Unit Sgt. Mario Santos; back row, Deputy Corey Loftis, Deputy Andy Smith, Sheriff Eric Watson, and Deputy Bruce Morgan.
A GRANT from the Tennessee Highway Safety Office will be used at the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office by the Public Service unit. Members of the PSU are, from left, front row: Deputy Brandon Coffel, Public Safety Lt. Cheryl Holloway, Public Safety Unit Sgt. Mario Santos; back row, Deputy Corey Loftis, Deputy Andy Smith, Sheriff Eric Watson, and Deputy Bruce Morgan.
Contributed photo
Posted

Local law enforcement and the District Attorney General’s office will be receiving grants to support local highway safety initiatives.

The Tennessee Highway Safety Office and Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security recently announced 400 grants exceeding $18 million will be distributed statewide for the 2017-2018 Federal Fiscal Year.

The grants are being made possible through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and distributed by the THSO.

In Bradley County, grants are being awarded to the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office, the Cleveland Police Department and the Charleston Police Department. Also, the 10th Judicial District Drug Task Force, which includes serving Bradley County along with McMinn, Monroe and Polk counties, will receive a grant.

The 10th Judicial District Attorney’s Office will receive a grant presented through the state highway safety office, as will both the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and Benton Police Department.

Each of these agencies and offices have made arrangements on how to utilize the grants.

The Bradley County Sheriff’s Office will receive $55,000, which will be managed by the BCSO’s Public Safety Unit to fund traffic safety enforcement and educational campaigns throughout the fiscal year. These funds will help with:

• Educational presentations

• DUI checkpoints

• DUI saturation patrols

• Motorcycle safety enforcement

• Distracted driving enforcement

• Seatbelt and child safety seat enforcement, and

• Speed, red light, and stop sign enforcement.

The Public Safety Unit is comprised of seven deputies who have received specialized training to investigate traffic accidents, properly install child restraint car-seats and instruct the “Distracted Driving” class to teenage drivers within the Bradley County School system.

“The Bradley County Sheriff’s Office holds traffic safety as a high priority and is pleased to have the opportunity to utilize this grant to promote safe and smart driving behavior,” said Sheriff Eric Watson.

“It’s also our agency’s objective to target unsafe drivers through saturations to create a culture of traffic safety across the Cleveland/Bradley County community. The Sheriff’s Office will partner with THSO traffic safety campaigns throughout the year to proactively reach our shared goal — zero deaths on Tennessee’s roadways.”

The Cleveland Police Department will receive a $5,000 grant to purchase in-car cameras and purchase a speed tracker.

CPD Public Information Officer Sgt. Evie West called the speed tracker “the most elegant and unique combination of GPS speedometer and Trip computer in just one application.”

On such speed tracker being looked at by the department is called a “SpeedSpy.” This piece of equipment is designed to not be noticed, so the traffic data collected is unaffected and police get a picture of unenforced traffic patterns. It can be used to determine if additional police presence is needed in certain areas, or if speed limits need to be adjusted or other traffic safety measures enacted.

Johnny Stokes, Charleston Police chief, said his department will use the $5,000 grant “for overtime for the guys and to buy safety equipment for us.”

Polk County Sheriff Steve Ross said the $5,000 grant for the sheriff’s office will help with the purchase of radar units.

Grants of $5,000 were also to be awarded to the Drug Task Force and Benton Police Department. The Benton Police Department will receive a $20,000 grant for a network coordinator.

The largest local grant will go to the District Attorney General’s Office. The $142,000 grant will be used by the DA’s office in all of the 10th Judicial District’s four counties.

“We are grateful to once again receive our DUI enforcement grant,” said District Attorney General Steve Crump. “This grant is crucial in our efforts to combat impaired driving and to hold offenders accountable.

“This grant provides funding to employ a full time assistant district attorney and a support assistant to work in all four counties in the district. That assistant district attorney prosecutes all felony DUI cases as well as vehicular homicide and vehicular assault cases,” Crump noted.

“Additionally, that prosecutor works with law enforcement and our other assistant district attorneys to make them more effective in investigating and prosecuting impaired driving cases. Our office has received this grant for several years. We look forward to continuing to provide training and support to law enforcement in addition to prosecution of offenders with this grant.”

“Highway safety enforcement and education initiatives are critical components to preventing highway fatalities,” said Commissioner David W. Purkey of the TDOSHS. “We cannot lower statewide fatality numbers without strong partnerships within our local communities. That is why these funds are so important.”

Every year, traffic safety advocates, non-profit organizations, emergency response personnel, law enforcement, district attorneys’ offices and other state agencies across Tennessee seek funding through grant applications offered by the THSO. Applicants who meet the required data-driven criteria and highway safety standards are awarded grant funds to support the THSO’s mission to reduce traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities.

“Our highway safety partners are dedicated men and women who work tirelessly to protect Tennessee roadways every day,” said THSO Director Vic Donoho. “The THSO grant funding provides essential highway safety training and equipment for law enforcement agencies, sophisticated crash data collection analysis technology, specialized DUI prosecutors, resources for emergency response personnel, and educational tools to help improve driver behavior.”

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