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Clayton police get HEAT grant

Special photo
The Clayton County Police Department recently got an $84,300 grant to fund specialized traffic patrols.

Special photo The Clayton County Police Department recently got an $84,300 grant to fund specialized traffic patrols.

The Clayton County Police Department's enforcement of aggressive driving is heating up again for another year, thanks to a matching grant awarded by the state.

Lt. Tina Daniel said the department has been given $84,300 from the Governor's Office of Highway Safety. The money will be used to extend the department's participation in the state's Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic (HEAT) operation for the 2011-2012 budget year.

The grant pays for the three-person, specialized unit’s vehicles, maintenance and equipment. Salary is provided for one officer, with the county funding the remaining officers.

Clayton Police Chief Greg Porter said funding the program is important to Clayton County. "The HEAT Unit is a necessary component within our department, that enables us to provide strategic enforcement on our interstates and state routes," he said.

The mission of the HEAT units is to reduce motor vehicle crashes, injuries and fatalities through the systematic delivery of effective speed, seat-belt, DUI and aggressive-driving countermeasures.

With thousands of cars passing through Clayton County's miles of interstate every day, Porter said adequate traffic enforcement is vital to the safety of all drivers.

"The HEAT grant is an invaluable tool that helps our department with highway enforcement," he said. "Clayton County is unique, because it is one of the few counties in the metro area that has three major interstates that run directly through it."

Clayton's HEAT unit is headed by Lt. Brian Danekes. The College Park and Morrow police departments in Clayton also participate in the HEAT program, according to the Georgia Office of Highway Safety.

The HEAT project aims to increase the impaired-driver-apprehension rate, provide heightened community awareness, educate the public on DUI laws, and reduce speeding, seat-belt and aggressive-driving violations.