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Williamstown police department gets $6,500 grant

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By Bryan Marshall

Williamstown police plan to be more visible in high-crash areas after receiving a $6,500 six-month grant from the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety.

KOHS recently presented $365,500 in federal funds to law enforcement agencies in an effort to bolster highway enforcement in targeted communities. The grants run from April 1 to Sept. 30.

Fifty-three agencies were identified in counties with a high number of traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities.

“We’re focusing on US 25, KY 22 and KY 26 in the high-crash areas,” said Williamstown Police Chief Al Rich. “We’re looking at speeders, reckless drivers, DUIs and seat belts.”

The funds can be used for overtime enforcement and fuel costs to help agencies that do not have full-year grants to increase high visibility enforcement. All traffic safety grants are federally funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and administered by the KOHS.

In 2009, there were 848 total crashes in Grant County and 263 total injuries. Of the six fatalities from car crashes last year, three involved victims who were not wearing seat belts.

Statewide, there were 791 deaths on roadways in 2009. Of those fatalities, 649 were in passenger vehicles, and 61 percent of fatality victims in passenger vehicles were not buckled up.

More than 20 percent of passenger vehicle fatality crashes involved alcohol.

Motorcyclists accounted for 80 fatalities, of which more than 60 percent of victims were not wearing a helmet. Nineteen percent of fatal motorcycle crashes involved alcohol.

“Anytime that you have high visibility in a high-crash area it helps reduce crashes,” Rich said. “If we can help prevent one crash or one injury, it’s worth it to be out there. It’s a great tool we can use for enforcement to try to reduce these crashes we’ve seen in the past.”