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Thirteen federal grants have been awarded to law enforcement agencies within Hamilton County in hopes of promoting public safety, according to a news release from local lawmakers.

The Department of Safety and Homeland Security grants will help police with a variety of issues, from "traffic services" to to bicycle and pedestrian safety and drunk driving, the news release states.

The Hamilton County District Attorney's office also received $299,600 to aid in DUI prosecution.

"These grants will give our local communities additional funds that should help upgrade their efforts to make our roads safer and to protect our citizens from those who drink and drive," Sen. Todd Gardenhire, R-Chattanooga, said in a statement. "I will continue to work to make our roads safer in the next General Assembly."

Hamilton County awards

-$100,000 to the Chattanooga Police Department for alcohol and impaired driving enforcement
-$56,800 to the Collegedale Police Department for bicycle and pedestrian safety
-$22,000 to the Collegedale Police Department for police traffic services
-$27,000 to the East Ridge Police Department for police traffic services
-$126,000 to the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office for child passenger safety & occupant protection
-$91,800 to the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office for alcohol and impaired driving enforcement
-$5,000 to the Lookout Mtn. Police Department for high visibility enforcement
-$40,000 to the Red Bank Police Department for distracted driving
-$13,276 to the Signal Centers Baby University for child passenger safety & occupant protection
-$15,000 to the Signal Mountain Police Department for police traffic services
-$20,000 to the SoddyDaisy Police Department for distracted driving
-$20,000 to the SoddyDaisy Police Department for police traffic services
-$299,600 to the Tennessee District Attorney General, 11th Judicial District for DUI prosecution

The grants, which will be disbursed by the Tennessee Highway Safety Office, have been awarded to agencies that met the office's required data-driven criteria.  

"I am very pleased that we have been able to secure these highway safety grants to help make our roads safer," Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, said in a statement.  "I also appreciate all the hard work that our local officials have done in helping us to receive these funds."

Over 335 federal grants adding up to about $23 million have been awarded to law enforcement agencies and highway safety organizations across Tennessee, according to a news release from the Tennessee Highway Safety Office.

Additionally, about $3 million in media grant funds will be allocated for statewide highway safety education and public awareness campaigns.

"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," Vic Donoho, highway safety office director, said in a statement

"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," he said.

Among those receiving funds is the Collegedale Police Department. It was awarded $56,800 for bicycle and pedestrian safety, as well as $22,000 for "police traffic services."

Collegedale's police department has been under investigation by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation after allegations of a traffic quota system came to light.

In December 2018, the department began directing officers to meet a minimum number of "enforcement actions" and "patrol activities" each month, one of the lawsuits states. Enforcement actions mean written citations or arrests, and patrol activities include neighborhood, business and school patrols.

Beginning in about December 2018, officers had to complete at least 25 "enforcement actions" and 100 "patrol activities" each month, one of the lawsuits states, according to a lawsuit filed by a former officer who claims he was forced to resign after confronting supervisors about the alleged quota system.

Enforcement actions mean written citations or arrests, and patrol activities include neighborhood, business and school patrols.

The city has denied the claims.

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