The Gainesville Police Department will soon have an additional $15,000 to spend after receiving a grant from the Governor's Office of Highway Safety.
The grant was awarded for the department's work as the coordinating agency for the North East Traffic Enforcement Network, which is one of 16 networks throughout Georgia. Each of the networks was provided the same grant.
As the coordinating agency, the department works with law enforcement agencies in several neighboring counties including Hall, Forsyth, Dawson, White, Habersham, Rabun, Stephens, Hart, Franklin, Banks and Jackson.
The network works together to enforce state campaigns dealing with seat belt use, speed and impaired driving.
Kevin Holbrook, public information officer for the department, said the grant will be used to further support the enforcement network, as well as fund traffic safety equipment. The particular equipment that will be purchased has not been decided.
Harris Blackwood, director of the GOHS, said the grant is typically used to purchase small equipment such as radar, alcohol detection devices and other equipment that relates to traffic enforcement. It can't be used for criminal justice purposes.
Gainesville Master Police Officer Griggs Wall is the coordinator of the region's enforcement network and works with representatives of the various agencies in the region to organize various campaigns.
Those campaigns are in compliance with the GOHS and include concentrated patrols, road safety checks, sobriety checkpoints for Operation Zero Tolerance, seat belt checks for Click It or Ticket and Operation Rolling Thunder in areas of high traffic concentration.
"It is probably one of the greatest things that we do," Blackwood said. "It allows traffic enforcement to cross not only municipal county lines, but jurisdictional lines."
If a jurisdiction has an identified traffic enforcement issue, surrounding agencies can assist for a single day of enforcement without cost to the jurisdiction, Blackwood said.
"It is a cooperative arrangement that is maximizing taxpayers' investments," he said.
The department also uses a blood alcohol testing trailer for its involvement in the enforcement network. It is a mobile unit that includes a testing center for drivers suspected of driving under the influence, as well as several other tools.