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Lathrop gets $60K grant grant for crackdown on unsafe driving in city
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The Lathrop Police Department will be using grant funding to go after those operating motor vehicles under the influence as well as those demonstrating an inability to drive safely.

Earlier this month the Lathrop City Council authorized the acceptance of a $60,000 Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) grant through a program funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and administered through the Office of Traffic Safety – funds that are typically used by agencies to fund sobriety checkpoints and DUI saturation patrols.

And after looking at the data for the first year of the agency’s existence, going after those driving under the influence will be a top priority for the Lathrop Police Department.

According to the staff report that was prepared for the council, a look into the data about vehicle crashes that occur in the city limits points to three main factors that precipitated the collision – speeding, driving under the influence, and making unsafe lane changes.

In the first six months that the Lathrop Police Department was at the helm of law enforcement operations in the city, according to the report, there were 148 crashes – 49 of which were due to excessive speed while 19 of those accidents were caused by somebody driving while inebriated.

When combined with the 19 crashes that occurred because of unsafe lane changes, those three precursors accounted for more than half of all of the crashes that occurred during that span.

“The Lathrop Police Department will utilize the funding from the grand to conduct Sobriety Checkpoints, have DUI saturation patrols, implement traffic enforcement operations focused on the primarily collision factors, conduct nighttime Click it or Ticket enforcement operations, conduct distracted driving enforcements for drivers using cell phones or texting, conduct pedestrian and bicycle operations, provide education to the public, purchase traffic enforcement equipment, and send officers to training,” the staff report read. “Accepting the STEP grant will allow for the purchase of traffic equipment, reimburse overtime hours directly related to additional traffic enforcements and public education, and reimburse for traffic training course for our officers.

“The STEP grant will be used to reduce the number of persons killed and injured in crashes involving alcohol and other primary collision factors.”

The City of Manteca routinely uses funding from the same grant to cover the cost of overtime for officers assigned to DUI saturation patrols – where more officers are out patrolling the streets specifically looking for signs of impairment in drivers – and sobriety checkpoints.

To contact Bulletin reporter Jason Campbell email or call 209.249.3544.