From left: Clayton County Police Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic (H.E.A.T.) officers, Reggie Magwood, Bret Bell, and Mark Niedbalski are pictured with a Clayton Police HEAT patrol car.
JONESBORO— The Clayton County Police Department was awarded a state grant to help cut down on the number of people being injured or killed in traffic accidents.
Clayton County Police Department received a $90,800 grant from the Georgia Office of Highway Safety (GOHS). Clayton police is one of only 21 Georgia law enforcement agencies to receive a major public safety partnership Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic grant from the GOHS, according to Clayton Police Lt. Chris Windley.
The HEAT grant pays for the three-person specialized unit’s vehicles, maintenance and equipment. Funds from the grant cover one officer’s salary and the county pays the remaining officers, said Clayton County Police Capt. Brian Danekes.
Clayton Police now have more money to help fund the HEAT unit, to keep drivers safe on the county’s highways.
“The mission of the participating state 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,” Danekes said. “We have been a part of this grant for 11 years.”
Danekes is also the Clayton County Police Traffic Commander. He said he depends on the skills of the HEAT officers.
“They are my experts in DUI suppression and aggressive driving,” Danekes added.
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, Windley said.
The Clayton Police HEAT Unit will use the grant to develop and implement strategies to reduce local highway crashes, injuries, and fatalities. The GOHS coordinates 16 Regional Traffic Enforcement Networks across the state to help enforce Georgia’s year-round speed, impaired driving, and safety belt campaigns.