Glendale police get major grant to continue DUI, distracted driving crackdown

Hundreds of thousands in state funding is headed to Glendale to help pay for pedestrian education and distracted driving enforcement, officials announced this week.

The Glendale Police Department received $377,550 in grants this week from the California Office of Traffic Safety to fund enforcement efforts and lower the number of alcohol or drug-related incidents on the road.

Police Chief Ron De Pompa this week said DUI-related traffic collisions and overall traffic safety have been areas of focus for the department.

“Traffic safety is the No.1 concern in this community,” he said Wednesday.

At least 300 law enforcement agencies apply for the grants, but only about half receiving funding, said Chris Cochran, spokesman for the California Office of Traffic Safety.

This year, the agency awarded $77 million in traffic safety grants to state and local agencies.

Burbank also received a state grant for $31,500 to fund DUI checkpoints.

“There are a lot of people competing to get the same pot of money,” Cochran said.

Of the $377,550 in funding that Glendale received, a $225,000 grant will pay pedestrian safety issues, motorcycle safety enforcement, and operations aimed at distracted drivers and motorists who are driving under the influence.

Another grant for $152,550 will fund DUI checkpoints.

DUI-related traffic collisions were down 24% this year from 2011, which police attributed to aggressive enforcement.

“The effort over the last year has brought about over a 100% increase in our DUI arrests, but the bottom line is, that directly affects traffic accidents,” De Pompa said.

Pedestrian-involved traffic collisions were also down from 62 for the first seven months of last year to 57 this year, according to the Police Department. Injury-related collisions were down by 4 this year compared to the same period in 2011.

There have been no traffic-related fatalities so far this year.

--Veronica Rocha, Times Community News

Follow Veronica on Google+ and Twitter: @VeronicaRochaLA


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