The Citrus Heights Police Department (CHPD) announced Tuesday it was awarded $182,525 in grant money for a one-year special enforcement and education program, aimed at reducing traffic-related deaths and injuries in the city.
“I am proud of our continued partnership with the Office of Traffic Safety,” said Lieutenant Ryan Kinnan in a press release, referring to past grants the local Department has received from OTS.
CHPD says deaths and injuries fell significantly between 2006 and 2010 in Citrus Heights, but saw “slight increases” in 2011 and 2012. Kinnan is hopeful that “innovative strategies” funded by this latest grant will help reduce collisions and injuries in the city.
In addition to anti-DUI efforts, the Department says grant funds will go toward public awareness and educational presentations, motorcycle safety and distracted driving enforcement, seat belt and child safety seat enforcement, as well as other traffic-related enforcement activities.
Answering a common question about why the local Department goes out of its way to publicize DUI checkpoints ahead of time, CHPD Public Information Officer Anthony Boehle previously told The Sentinel that awareness efforts are about preventing drunk drivers from getting on the road in the first place.
“DUI checkpoints are not intended to make arrests,” Officer Boehle said, explaining the more people know about heavy crackdowns on DUI’s, the less likely they are to attempt a drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. “It’s all about public awareness.”
In contrast to the checkpoints, Boehle explained “DUI Saturation Patrols” — also funded by the grant money — have a much higher potential for making arrests, because of a difference in goals. While checkpoints may arrest a small number of drunk drivers, the officer said “Saturation Patrols” are deployed specifically to “hunt” for DUI drivers — adding that a single patrol car can make more arrests in one night, than a checkpoint can in the same time.
The Department’s high-visibility anti-DUI efforts in the past have been aided by similar grants from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the latest funds are designed to work towards what OTS calls their shared vision: “Toward zero deaths, every 1 counts.”