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Traffic safety grants likely to be accepted at next Eureka City Council meeting

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EUREKA- The California Office of Traffic Safety has been providing the City of Eureka with grants for increasing traffic safety since the 1990’s.  The next installment of those grants is expected to be accepted Tuesday at the Eureka City Council meeting.

The first grant is for $19,800.  It would provide funding for equipment for four DUI/Driver’s License checkpoints in Eureka during 2014.  The checkpoints would last one night each and the grant would also pay for overtime for the officers that work them.  The second grant is called the Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) grant.  This grant, which is $96,600, will provide overtime funding for EPD officers to do specialized enforcement.  This includes patrolling for distracted drivers who are texting or using their cell phones, drivers committing driving violations that normally cause collisions and warrant sweeps for people with outstanding DUI warrants.  A new DUI checkpoint trailer will also be purchased with this grant along with other equipment.  EPD officials say the two grants are the only way the department would be able to do these special programs.

"Ninety-six thousand dollars and six hundred would be a lot for the city to match. If we were to do this on our own, that would be very difficult.  That funding can go to other parts of the department and parts of the city so without the Office of Traffic Safety, funding is, we would be hard pressed to be able to do that," said the Senior Traffic Officer with the Eureka Police Department, Gary Whitmer.