Police departments across the nation are gearing up their efforts to deliver gifts of sobriety to motorists between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
The concerted campaign to make drivers think twice about operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs during the holidays requires an increase in staffing to man the added patrols and roadside checkpoints.
Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of GrantWatch.com, said the extra details and public awareness strategies are typically funded by grants at the state or federal levels including the NHTSA, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Much of the focus throughout the United States will be on speed limit enforcement, which often leads to DUI arrests, according to law enforcement authorities. In Santa Rosa, where the overtime is funded by grants from the California Office of Traffic Safety, every traffic stop is considered a DUI investigation.
As a measure of support, NHTSA sponsors the annual Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, which includes nationwide TV advertisements aimed at warning Americans to stay safe during the holidays and raise awareness of drunk driving. In December 2016 alone, 781 people lost their lives in drunk-driving crashes. The agency reports that over the past five years, an average of 300 people died in drunk-driving crashes during the Christmas through New Year’s holiday period.
That’s why the Bucksport Police Department has applied for three grants from the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety. Each grant could allow the department to pay officers to work an extra four-hour detail patrolling the busiest roads in town for: speeding, distracted drivers and operating under the influence offenses.
Earlier this year, the Bucksport Police Department received grants for speeding details, new body armor and a new cage for one of its cruisers. Police departments in small communities like Bucksport are often at a disadvantage because they have fewer resources available to help their officers effectively do their jobs.
“Policing comes with a price tag,” said Hikind, who encouraged law enforcement authorities and nonprofit fire and first-responder services to visit Grantwatch.com, where they will find grant resources and links to their administrating agencies. Here are two examples of state grants that can be found when using the keyword search with the word "Driving".
Libby explains, "We add new grants daily. But if you do not see a grant specific to the DUI community issue, look at grants for economic development, travel & tourism and municipalities – and if you meet the eligibility and funding requirements, prepare to make a strong case for your proposed program with the needs of your locale."
Grants can help police departments with the purchase of equipment – from bulletproof vests to cruisers — and in the hiring of additional officers. This year, the Community Orientated Policing Services, an arm of the Justice Department, provided close to $100 million to 179 police departments around the country, which will allow 802 full-time law enforcement officers to be hired.
About the Author: Staff Writer for GrantWatch.com