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Sheriff gets traffic enforcement grant

Monday, Oct. 7, 2013 5:16 PM
Last updated Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013 1:38 AM
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If you drive in Richmond County, you’d better drive right.



A team of officers will be focusing on aggressive and drunken drivers after the sheriff’s office received a grant aimed at reducing crashes and fatalities.

The Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic units are specially trained teams of officers who focus on reducing impaired driving crashes and excessive speeding, increasing seat belt usage and educating the public on traffic safety.

The sheriff’s office has been approved for a $625,000 grant by the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety to fund a three-member team over the next three years.

Richmond County, like all of the program participants, was awarded the grant because of a high number of traffic fatalities and crashes.

“Anything we can do to get money through grants is our goal and we definitely want to deter fatalities,” Lt. Lewis Blanchard said.

The grant pays $250,000 in the first year, which includes the salary of two of the three officers; three new, fully equipped police cruisers; and additional technology. The sheriff’s office is required to pay the third officer’s salary.

The rest of the grant money will be used over the remaining two years.

The sheriff’s office is not required to hire new officers. Blanchard said three current officers will be trained for the additional duties.

It’s not the first time the sheriff’s office has been involved with the Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic program. The office received a three-year grant that ended in 2006.

Authorities said it is evident, however, that increased enforcement is needed once again. Fatalities more than doubled in 2011 to 32 and then increased again in 2012 by 37 percent.

Operation Thunder, which ran for three months this year, reduced fatalities by 62 percent from the previous year and reduced crashes by 30 percent.

Blanchard said the results from Operation Thunder prove that increased enforcement is effective. Authorities believe the new unit will assist in continuing to drop the number further.

In additional to normal requirements, the officers’ training will include DUI and field sobriety, Intoxilyzer, Drug Recognition Expert, Advanced Roadside Impaired Driver Enforcement, and child safety seat technician certifications.

The sheriff’s office presented the nonmatching grant to the Augusta Commission’s public safety committee Monday for approval to accept the funding.

Blanchard said the three officers can begin their special activities immediately in their normal patrol cars. The official vehicles are expected to arrive before the end of the year.

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oldredneckman96
5115
Points
oldredneckman96 10/07/13 - 06:25 pm
5
8
HEAT
Unpublished

If HEAT will get the poor drunks off the road that are on mopeds, the rich drunks off the road that are on golf carts and the plain feeble minded on the road on bicycles, they will be welcomed by all. Of course there is no money in that, so they will do what they always do, target those who look like they have money.

younameit
224
Points
younameit 10/07/13 - 07:06 pm
3
9
Impressive

This Sheriff's Department seems to outdo itself from one month to the next. It's only a matter of time before the rest of the community realizes that exceptional service can be its own reward. And tremendously satisfying! Then, there's just no limit to what we can accomplish together. Thanks to the Sheriff and his department for setting the bar higher and higher.

specsta
7137
Points
specsta 10/07/13 - 08:04 pm
12
0
Fix These Dilapidated Roads

The state gives Augusta a $625,000 grant for shiny new police cars (didn't Augusta just get new police cars?) and to pay more deputies to write traffic tickets. Whoop-dee-doo.

But where is the money to repair the rotten roads in the CSRA?

Where is the grant money to re-surface some roads that are so raggedy, not only will your tires want to shred and your shocks go out, but also pose a danger to drivers? Where's the money to re-paint lines on the roadways, cut back shrubbery that creates blind spots at intersections in some neighborhoods, and install pedestrian crossings at all intersections?

Where is the grant money to correct dangerous roadways that have taken numerous lives? If I have to swerve to avoid a blanket-sized pothole or a manhole cover that rises 4 inches above the roadway or a metal pipe sticking up out of the pavement, what kind of sense does that make?

A bigger help in reducing traffic accidents and fatalities will be to fix these rotten roads. You can have police writing tickets all day but that isn't going to prevent accidents at dangerous intersections that have poorly timed lights, craters galore and faded paint on the roadway.

We don't need any more shiny new cop cars to write tickets - we need roads that are drive-able and safe.

raul
5729
Points
raul 10/07/13 - 08:24 pm
4
0
Better Call Saul!

Better Call Saul!

galaxygrl
1350
Points
galaxygrl 10/07/13 - 08:44 pm
9
0
Revenue

Sounds like a revenue driver to me. Who gets the money, the county or the sheriff's department? With all the money coming in, SPLOST and One Percent for the roads from additional sales tax, we can build a new Augusta from the Marble Palace and beyond. I am thinking South Richmond County has the most traffic problems but they will only see the arrests and not the benefits. Just a thought.

WagerLine
27
Points
WagerLine 10/07/13 - 08:47 pm
7
0
One Nation Under Money

Specsta and redneck96 have it pretty much right. This money could easily fix the intersection on Woodbridge Drive where Dr. Harvey recently passed away.It could honestly fix many other roads/intersections in this city (regardless of county). Wrightsboro/Jackson Rd is in [filtered word]-poor shape but isn't having any work done to it any time soon. This $625,000 to reduce the mortality rate and promote safer driving is just a sound investment like Operation Thunder. They know this investment's dividends from just the speeding tickets will pay for this grant. Three (more) fully equipped police cars just add aesthetic value to a corrupt department. They could fix the roads, educate drivers, or use the money to further the cause of any of the awesome non-profits in this city. There's no money flowing back in their pockets in any of those cases though...

Frank I
1204
Points
Frank I 10/07/13 - 09:40 pm
7
0
fixing the roads

fixing the roads won't intimidate residents into compliance..

pgapeach2
1397
Points
pgapeach2 10/07/13 - 09:49 pm
5
0
Wagerline

Wrightsboro at Jackson road has been in that condition since the late 80's, certain parts of Central Ave are just as bad.

JRC2024
10420
Points
JRC2024 10/07/13 - 09:52 pm
7
0
I find myself agreeing with

I find myself agreeing with you on this one specta. It is all about the money. If it wasn"t the fines would not be so high and the violation would not be reported to the insurance company so they could rate your policy.

specsta
7137
Points
specsta 10/07/13 - 09:57 pm
10
0
Frank I wrote - "fixing the

Frank I wrote - "fixing the roads won't intimidate residents into compliance."

You stated two key words here - 'intimidate' and 'compliance'. These are two of the key elements of a police state. If safety were the real issue, the government would fix the roads - FIRST.

Cocomommy
51
Points
Cocomommy 10/08/13 - 07:47 am
1
4
Wow

I think you meant, "It's official. You're an idiot." Just saying... How is this anything but a good thing? Augusta gets additional resources to take dangerous drivers off of the roads. Potholes are a finite problem, while drunk drivers are a dynamic problem. It's kind of like saying the tree jumped out in front of you... doesn't make sense. Drunk and aggressive drivers are like jumping trees. Also, making the point that this money could have been better used for another cause displays a lack of understanding of funding realities. If I see a hungry man outside of a restaurant and give him ten dollars to eat, is that a good thing? Wouldn't that ten dollars have better used buying a fishing pole? Apples and oranges. Don't drive drunk. Don't drive aggressive. Police get more resources to do SOMETHING to try and keep drivers safe. POSITIVE.

Frank I
1204
Points
Frank I 10/08/13 - 07:51 am
3
0
specsta

I agree, sarcasm doesn't read well in print..

ragingbull
945
Points
ragingbull 10/08/13 - 08:34 am
2
0
“Anything we can do to get

“Anything we can do to get money through grants is our goal......"Lt. Lewis Blanchard said." Money and a new car, wow, all they need now is a new suit!

mosovich
858
Points
mosovich 10/08/13 - 10:44 am
2
0
Hey now..

Hey now that you've got your money, go out and write some tickets to help make the roads safer.. People speed and run red lights in this town like crazy..

Sweet son
11633
Points
Sweet son 10/08/13 - 11:39 am
2
0
I'm Scared!

Wonder if they will try the lights and sirens into town high speed parade like in Operation Thunder?? LOL!

jimmymac
47688
Points
jimmymac 10/08/13 - 12:59 pm
1
0
GRANT
Unpublished

It would be nice if they got a grant to make walking on the River Walk safer. It would be nice if they got a grant so the downtown businesses weren't being extorted to get police protection. It would be nice if they got a grant to pave Broad St. and make the main drag of the town not look like it earns the slum designation it's being given by it's own council.

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