WatchSonoma Watch

Local agencies receive $1.4 million for DUI, traffic enforcement



Sonoma County law agencies have received about $1.4 million in state grants for traffic safety and drunken-driving enforcement.

The money will go toward numerous programs, including pedestrian safety enforcement in Santa Rosa, DUI checkpoints countywide and motorcycle safety by CHP

Petaluma police officers conduct a DUI checkpoint on Sonoma Mountain Parkway, Friday Sept. 16, 2011 in Petaluma. The driver of the car was not under the influence. (PD FILE, 2011)

officers, and it will help Sonoma County probation officers keep a closer watch on repeat drunken drivers.

The state Office of Traffic Safety each fall gives millions of dollars to agencies statewide. The grants are competitive and based partially on collision statistics. About half of the grants requested are funded, said Chris Cochran, Office of Traffic Safety spokesman.

Four police agencies received grants for drunken-driving enforcement: $75,850 for the Santa Rosa Police Department, $34,850 for the Petaluma Police Department, $32,410 for the Rohnert Park Public Safety Department and $11,900 for the Sebastopol Police Department.

Sonoma County law enforcement overall received a $280,000 grant for its Avoid the 13 anti-DUI Task Force. That pays for numerous drunken-driving checkpoints held annually during several holiday periods.

All of the county’s 13 agencies participate in the program, which is administrated by the Petaluma Police Department.

A new grant of $156,000 went this year to the Sonoma County Probation Department to pay for added surveillance and searches by officers of convicted drunken drivers on probation for felony DUI or multiple misdemeanor DUI convictions, Cochran said.

Supervision will include unannounced home searches, random alcohol and drug testing and monitoring to ensure compliance with court-ordered DUI education and treatment programs, Cochran said.

The Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office received a $300,000 prosecution grant, and the county received $337,554 for the DUI treatment court.

Police officials also ask for state money to beef up their department’s enforcement of a variety of traffic problems, from red-light runners and speeders to texting drivers.

For such efforts, the state gave Petaluma $230,000; Santa Rosa $90,000; Rohnert Park $40,000; Cotati $41,000; and Sebastopol $25,000.

Following a recent rash of fatal or near-fatal pedestrian and car collisions, Santa Rosa police will use some of that money to focus on pedestrian safety.

Officers will look for unsafe walkers and drivers and bicyclists who interfere with pedestrians, said Santa Rosa traffic Sgt. Rich Celli.

A 20-percent increase in fatal motorcycle crashes statewide from 2010 to 2011 has the CHP using some of its 2013 grant money for an extended motorcycle safety education and enforcement program, which will include efforts in Sonoma County, reported CHP officials.

The grant money comes from the Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

You can reach Staff Writer Randi Rossmann at 521-5412 or randi.rossmann@pressdemocrat.com.

10 Responses to “Local agencies receive $1.4 million for DUI, traffic enforcement”

  1. David Stubblebine says:

    @Snarky: There’s an article in today’s paper that a Penngrove man got 10 years for child abuse. Last week another article said a Rohnert Park man went to prison for embezzlement. Using the logic you seem unable to abandon, ALL people in Penngrove must be child abusers and ALL people in Rohnert Park must be embezzlers. In fact, SOME cops are crooked, just like SOME Penngrove residents are child abusers and SOME Rohnert Park residents are embezzlers. Your effort to smear ALL police based on a few very isolated (but indefensible) cases grows weary.

  2. Snarky says:

    “”US Justice Launches Probe Into Albuquerque Police

    RUSSELL CONTRERAS, Associated Press
    Updated Tuesday, November 27, 2012

    “”ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. Justice Department plans a thorough investigation of the Albuquerque Police Department after a string of officer-involved shootings and a number of high-profile abuse cases alleging the use of excessive and deadly force.””

    This just adds to the list of police departments across the USA that are being investigated for criminal misconduct.
    i.e. Oakland, CA is another as well as Los Angeles County Jail staff. And, I believe that the Seattle, Washington police dept has also just found itself under criminal investigation.

  3. Que Sera says:

    Once again the Obama Admin. finds not problem using public money and federal debt to pay off the law enforcement union members in California.

    The state is in debt beyond its ability to repay and hasnt the money to give grants to anyone or anything.

    Is it any wonder why America is failing?

    The dem motto seems to be never put off ’til tomorrow spending public that can be spent today.

  4. Snarky says:

    Kris Kringle is clearly confused.

    He actually names the media for part of his heartburn and names sobriety police checkpoints for another heartburn.

    Yet he blames the Christmas season ???

    Not logical at all.

    Personally, the drunk driving “checkpoints” are a bother… but not as much as cops actually robbing banks as the one just being prosecuted in San Francisco. Google the story.

  5. Brad says:

    It’s nice to see that a state that is going broke can still hand out the tax payor’s money. I would think that all the money that is squeezed out of the drivers that get busted for a DUI would be enough to support the legal industry and all their collection goons.

  6. Snarky says:

    DUI’s ????????

    What about the cops robbing the banks ?


  7. Dan J Drummond says:

    To help Sonoma County probation officers keep a closer watch on REPEAT DRUNKEN DRIVERS, I hope they requested a grant to outfit the offenders with remote alcohol testing devices that incorporate GPS tracking. They could use GPS software to send an alarm if road weaving is detected or if they go into a place that sells alcohol.

    Good use of tax dollars = thumbs-up
    Waste of tax dollars = thumbs-down

  8. Reality Check says:

    Let me see, we all pay a federal gas tax at the pump. The money heads off to Washington where some of it is divvied up and sent back to the states, and then cities and counties employ grant writers to apply to get some of the money returned to where it was originally collected.

    Anyone think this is an efficient way for government to pay for anything?

  9. James Bennett says:

    Incrementally acclimating the citizens to a police state brand of civil governance.

    You combine broad tyrannical definition of “terrorist” with softening us up to the notion of “unannounced home searches” and you get the picture.

    Not a pretty picture.

    Oppression never is.

  10. Kris Kringle says:

    Between being castigated in the media for insufficient spending on Black Friday and sobriety checkpoints, I’ve about had it with Christmas.