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Morrow's traffic enforcement gets governor's grant

By Daniel Silliman

dsilliman@news-daily.com

The City of Morrow Police Department has received a $33,500 grant from the state for highway enforcement.

The grant comes from the Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety, as part of the Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic (H.E.A.T.) program.

Lt. Jason Dove said the grant was renewed for the third year, this month.

The lieutenant said the first grant was spent on H.E.A.T cars -- new Dodge Chargers -- and the second has been put toward equipment. This year's $33,500 allocation will be spent on speed-enforcement lasers, a new laptop computer, a computer docking station, as well as training equipment, like a PowerPoint projector.

Bob Dallas, GOHS director, said the grant "expresses our thanks."

"The H.E.A.T. project aims to increase the impaired driver apprehension rate, reduce speeders, educate the public about DUI laws and provide a higher traffic enforcement profile in the community," Dallas said.

The H.E.A.T. grants for the 2008-2009 period total more than $3 million, funding 27 traffic units in 22 counties, including most of the metro area. The specialized units focus on reducing impaired driving and crashes, reducing excessive speeding and increasing seat belt usage.

"The presence of H.E.A.T. units significantly increases public awareness and acts as a deterrent to many would-be, impaired drivers. We know from experience that H.E.A.T. teams like [the] Morrow Police Department's are an effective way to maximize our deterrent efforts," Dallas said.

Morrow Police Chief Jeff Baker has said high-profile traffic enforcement is a crucial part of his plan to deter not just aggressive driving, but also crime.

"People think that they're just writing tickets," the chief said, explaining the department's emphasis on traffic enforcement, "but that's just not the case. When you see the guys out there, that's a natural deterrent."