SFPD Receives Two Grants Worth $228,000

DUI/Driver License checkpoint sign

SAN FRANCISCO—The San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) received two grants on Friday, October 18, for a prevention program and an enforcement campaign, totaling $228,000.

The first grant is a two-part grant for a Special Traffic and Crash Prevention program to assist in dealing with traffic safety problems and reduce the number of people killed and injured in traffic collisions.

The first part is for $45,000 for “a year-long program aimed at preventing the deaths and injuries on our roadways through special enforcement and public awareness efforts,” as stated in a press release from the SFPD website. The second part is for $83,000 for a Sobriety Checkpoint, which is “directed at drivers operating motor vehicles while under the influence of either alcohol or drugs.”

“These grants will help the San Francisco Police Department improve traffic safety awareness and education in the City,” Captain Denise Flaherty, commanding officer of the SFPD Traffic Unit, said in a statement.

The two-part grant will help fund the following activities:

-Specialized DUI and drugged driving training like Standardized Field Sobriety Testing, Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement and Drug Recognition Evaluator

-Motorcycle safety enforcement

-Distracted driving enforcement

-Speed, red light and stop sign enforcement

-Compilation of DUI “Hot Sheets,” identifying worst-of-the-worst DUI offenders

The number of traffic deaths declined almost 39 percent from 2006 to 2010 in California, but rose by 2.6 percent in 2011. Officials are anticipating reports to show another for numbers in 2012.

“DUI deaths remain the largest sector, at nearly 30 percent of traffic fatalities,” the release reads. “Recent trends show increases in two new categories—distracted driving and drug-impaired driving,” the release continued.

The second grant, worth $100,000, has been granted to SFPD to administer to the county as part of the ‘Avoid’ DUI Task Force, which combats the deadly problem of drunk and drugged driving that has claimed 774 lives and injured more than 24,000.

“The ‘Avoid’ DUI Task Force is named to send the message that if you don’t drink or use drugs and drive, you will avoid getting arrested by any of the participating law enforcement agencies in the counties,” Flaherty said in a statement.

The agencies participating include the following: SFPD, San Francisco State Police Department, San Francisco City College Police, University of California San Francisco Police and the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department.

“The grant activities will specifically target those who get behind the wheel after drinking too much or using drugs that impair driving,” the release reads. “Officers from law enforcement agencies across the county will jointly staff DUI/Driver License Checkpoints, multi-agency DUI Task Force deployments and local DUI saturation points.”

A large part of the grant will be used to fund highly visible and publicized checkpoints, which aim to not only arrest violators, but also deter people from driving impaired to begin with. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), those checkpoints have yielded the most effective documented results of any DUI enforcement strategies and are supported by 90 percent of California drivers.

“Motorists can expect to see special DUI campaigns during the winter and summer holiday periods as well as on Halloween, Super Bowl Sunday, St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo and during local special events with identified DUI problems,” the release reads.

Funding for both grants came from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the NHTSA.

By Melissa Simon