Tuesday, 28 May 2024

Law enforcement agencies begin special traffic enforcement program

LAKE COUNTY – A new local effort seeks to bring more traffic enforcement and safer streets to

Clearlake and Lakeport in the coming years.


New equipment purchases and increased special traffic enforcement measures are on tap as a result of a

recent $143,250 AVOID Anti-DUI Program grant awarded by the Office of Traffic Safety to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Lt. Cecil Brown reported Sunday.


The AVOID Program began in 1973, according to the program's Web site. It brings together law enforcement agencies in countywide clusters to crack down on drunk driving and reduce the numbers of deaths and injuries that result from DUIs.


Since 1974, 35 counties and 350 law enforcement agencies have joined the program, its Web site reports.


Locally, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, the Clearlake Police Department and the Lakeport Police Department will work together under the grant, according to Sheriff Rod Mitchell.


“We are pleased to have an opportunity through this grant to assist the other law enforcement agencies with combating the dangers of DUI,” Sheriff Rod Mitchell said in a statement issued by his department. “Individually, the agencies do a good job combating this problem. Collectively, we all do a great job with it.


“It is my hope that the AVOID grant activities will have a measurable impact on increasing the public’s safety,” Mitchell continued. “Although the grant funds only staff time from the sheriff’s department and the police departments of Clearlake and Lakeport, the California Highway Patrol has been extremely generous with their support of AVOID program.”


Brown reported that the grant activities will specifically target those who drive under the influence and those who drive while their driving privilege is suspended.


Locally, that will be done through DUI/driver’s license checkpoints, DUI saturation patrols, warrant/probation sweeps and court sting operations where DUI offenders with suspended or revoked driver's licenses get behind the wheel after leaving court, Brown reported.


The first DUI/license checkpoint to take place locally under the AVOID grant will take place later this week, said Brown.


The grant provides funding for equipment and overtime to conduct special enforcement activities, Brown reported. Reimbursement for overtime will be available to the sheriff’s office and the police departments.


The provided equipment will include public education materials, checkpoint supplies, field breathalyzer equipment and a trailer with workspace and equipment hauling capability, said Brown.


“When more people buckle up and drive sober and safely, we save lives. It’s just that simple,” said Christopher J. Murphy, Director of the Office of Traffic Safety. “This grant will help make Lake County just that much safer of a place to live and work.”


Funding for the grant comes from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Brown reported.


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