Grants fund DUI, traffic programs across region

Grants fund DUI, traffic programs across region

October 11th, 2016 by Ben Benton in Local Regional News

Southeast Tennessee counties received federal grant funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration geared toward law enforcement programs, especially those aimed at drunken driving.

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Document: Grant awards list

Fiscal Year 2017 Governor's Highway Safety Office Grant Awards list

Among Southeast Tennessee's rural counties, Warren County, with more than $252,000, netted the biggest chunk of federal grant funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration aimed at law enforcement programs and particularly at drunken driving.

Agencies in 15 rural Southeast Tennessee counties surrounding Chattanooga were awarded almost $1.2 million combined, while Hamilton County agencies got just more than $617,000. Statewide, more than $17.1 million went to 384 agencies.

The 31st Judicial District Attorney's Office — serving Warren and Van Buren counties — will focus its grant on programs there led by a two-person DUI prosecution and coordinated efforts of members of the local judicial system.

The 9th, 10th, 13th and 14th Judicial District attorneys offices also got grants for prosecuting DUIs, records show.

The 31st Judicial District's prosecutors once were swamped with DUI cases because the staff was too small. Some suspects who had multiple offenses often had the alcohol-related charge dropped in order to gain a guilty plea on other charges.

Teamwork is the key, said DUI prosecutor Darrell Julian, who said the work he and DUI coordinator Susan Bell are continuing now for a 10th year has been successful and rewarding.

DUIs are the most preventable of all crimes, Julian said. On Friday, he had just finished participating in a mock DUI presentation at a local high school.

The key to their success has been relentless prosecution of DUI cases and education and training for law enforcement and members of the community to guide everyone toward the same goal, he said.

Warren and Van Buren officers don't use Breathalyzers in DUI cases anymore; they obtain a search warrant to draw blood in almost every case, bettering the chances for convictions, Julian said.

"Because of the quality of the evidence, we have few jury trials," he said. More cases are settled through pleas now.

State officials say the programs funded by the awards are intended to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries and reduce the numbers of intoxicated drivers who contribute to them.

"Our daily goal is simple — every driver goes home safe and sound every day," Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security Commissioner David W. Purkey said. "The Tennessee Highway Safety Office collaborates with sheriffs, police chiefs, state troopers and traffic safety partners to provide the safe environment necessary for this goal to happen."

Grants help pay for training, equipment, data collection technology, special DUI prosecutors, resources for emergency response and educational tools to improve drivers' behavior, officials said.

In order of total funding amounts for individual rural counties, Warren led with $252,370, Coffee got $199,338, Loudon got $190,071 and Bradley got $185,942. The region's other 11 rural counties were awarded between $10,000 and $56,000 for similar programs.

Chattanooga police, the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office and other law enforcement agencies across Hamilton County got the lion's share of money for the region at just more than $617,000 for drunk driving programs and enforcement and other driver-related programs, as well as programs for the community. The Hamilton County's District Attorney's Office was awarded $172,100 for prosecuting DUIs.

Outside of Hamilton County, two Southeast Tennessee law enforcement agencies — sheriff's offices in Bradley and Cumberland counties — got $35,000 each for programs aimed at traffic safety and enforcement.

Fatal crashes in Bradley County declined since last year from 14 to eight, and officials there credit last year's $35,000 grant with the reduction, spokesman James Bradford said.

Bradford said more than 1,300 Bradley County students participated in a program aimed at making teens safer drivers.

Deputies also will get new cameras and radar systems, he said. About $15,847 of the grant will go for overtime pay for officers to provide traffic training in the community.

Improved driver safety "all starts with programs such as Impact Teen Driving that helps educate the community about decisions they make behind the wheel [that] could lead to disastrous outcomes, but also help us with traffic enforcement to help keep reckless and intoxicated drivers off the roadways," Sheriff Eric Watson said in a statement on the grant.

Cumberland County officials will use this year's award to continue funding the DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols that officials employed with last year's grant, records show.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569.

Piece of the pie

The list below shows the amount of grant funding each of the 16 counties in Southeast Tennessee got this month from the Tennessee Highway Safety Office and Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security. More than $17.1 million was awarded to 384 agencies statewide.

COUNTY PROJECT AMOUNT

Bradley

Bradley County Sheriff Operation Safe Streets III $35,000

Charleston Police Department High visibility enforcement $5,000

Cleveland Police Department High visibility enforcement $5,000

Tenth Judicial District Attorney DUI abatement/prosecution $140,942

Coffee

Manchester Police Department Impaired driver enforcement $16,882

Fourteenth Judicial District Attorney DUI abatement/prosecution $167,636

Tullahoma Police Department Police traffic services $14,819

Cumberland

Crossville Police Department DUI saturation patrols/checkpoints $15,000

Cumberland County Sheriff DUI enforcement $35,000

Franklin

Cowan Police Department High visibility enforcement $3,000

Decherd Police Department High visibility enforcement $3,000

Estill Springs Police Department High visibility enforcement $3,000

Franklin County Sheriff High visibility enforcement $3,000

Franklin County Sheriff Impaired driving program $9,973

Huntland Police Department High visibility enforcement $3,000

Winchester Police Department High visibility enforcement $3,000

Grundy

Grundy County Sheriff Impaired driving program $15,000

Monteagle Police Department High visibility enforcement $3,000

Tracy City Police Department High visibility enforcement $3,000

Hamilton

IN3 Choices Matter program $30,000

Chattanooga Police Department DUI enforcement $75,000

Collegedale Police Department Safety Initiative, bikes/pedestrians $38,989

Collegedale Police Department Multiple violations program $15,000

East Ridge Police Department Violation reduction initiative $15,000

Hamilton County Sheriff Remove impaired drivers program $76,000

Hamilton County Sheriff Safe Journey (occupant protection) $125,000

Lookout Mountain Police Department High visibility enforcement $5,000

Red Bank Police Department Distracted driving reduction $14,996

Signal Mountain Police Department Aggressive driver enforcement $14,999

Soddy Daisy Police Department Alcohol countermeasures $15,000

Soddy Daisy Police Department Network coordinator $20,000

Eleventh Judicial District Attorney DUI prosecution $172,096

Loudon

Loudon County Sheriff High visibility enforcement $5,000

Loudon County Sheriff Nighttime seat belt demo project $10,000

Loudon Police Department High visibility enforcement $5,000

Ninth Judicial District Attorney DUI prosecution $170,071

Marion

Jasper Police Department Alcohol driving enforcement $10,334

Kimball Police Department Network coordinator $20,000

Marion County Sheriff High visibility enforcement $5,000

South Pittsburg Police Department Traffic services $15,000

Whitwell Police Department High visibility enforcement $5,000

McMinn

Calhoun Police Department High visibility enforcement $3,000

Englewood Police Department High visibility enforcement $3,000

Etowah Police Department Streets Safe program $11,999

McMinn County Sheriff Saturation patrols, checkpoints $24,959

Niota Police Department High visibility enforcement $3,000

Meigs

Decatur Police Department High visibility enforcement $3,007

Meigs County Sheriff DUI enforcement program 2014 $13,142

Monroe

Monroe County Sheriff High visibility enforcement $5,000

Sweetwater Police Department High visibility enforcement $5,000

Tellico Plains Police Department High visibility enforcement $5,000

Vonore Police Department High visibility enforcement $5,000

Polk

Benton Police Department Impaired driving $13,900

Benton Police Department Network coordinator $20,000

Polk County Sheriff High visibility enforcement $5,000

Rhea

Dayton Police Department High visibility enforcement $4,622

Graysville Police Department High visibility enforcement $3,000

Rhea County Sheriff Impaired driving enforcement $15,005

Rhea County Sheriff Network coordinator $20,003

Spring City Police Department High visibility enforcement $3,129

Sequatchie

Dunlap Police Department High visibility enforcement $3,017

Sequatchie County Sheriff Alcohol reduction enforcement $12,000

Van Buren

Spencer Police Department High visibility enforcement $5,000

Van Buren County Sheriff High visibility enforcement $5,000

Warren

McMinnville Police Department Designated driver program $12,999

31st Judicial District Attorney DUI enforcement program $219,371

Warren County Sheriff Impaired driving enforcement $20,000

Source: Tennessee Highway Safety Office and the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security


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