Winters police receives grants to bolster public safety, traffic enforcement

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Winters Police officers participated in Red Ribbon Week efforts at Winters High School in October. (Courtesy photo)

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While most adhere the responsibility of safe driving, some neglect it with – sometimes – fatal consequences. The Winters Police Department received a $50,000 grant to bolster traffic safety while keeping impaired drivers off the road.

Traffic violations have been on the rise, but the Winters police refused to remain idle. They applied for, and then received the Selective Traffic Enforcement Program Grant from the Office of Traffic Safety in October.

“When the pandemic started, we were on a hands-off method. Since we were off enforcement patrols, rules and regulations were laxed and we saw an increase of people driving with open containers and alcohol-related incidents increased. That’s when we looked into the grant,” Sergeant Jose Hermosillo said. “The grant aids us in traffic enforcement, vehicle code enforcement, bicycle enforcement, DUI saturation patrols and bike patrols.”

According to Hermosillo, the goal of the WPD in utilizing the grant money is not to deal out citation after citation, but to increase the public awareness that the police are back out on patrol and enforcing the laws that were more laxed during the pandemic.

“We were given a certain amount of hours and allocated money on those patrols,” said Hermosillo. “We want to set up DUI saturation patrols on bigger holidays. There’s also ‘click it or ticket’ patrols to enforce seatbelt laws, cell phone enforcement too. Winters is also a big bicycle hub for all riders going up Highway 128. With that comes rules and regulations bikers don’t ignore, but maybe forget. So, we’ll have a few days dedicated to bicycle patrol as well.”

When it comes to driving, Hermosillo simply wants people to remember the basics. Seatbelts, staying off one’s phone, adhering the speed limit and – of course – not drinking before driving.

WPD didn’t just score the traffic grant, however. In August, the police department was also awarded the CHP Cannabis Tax Fund Law Enforcement Grant. This will be aimed towards officer training in Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, Drug and Alcohol Recognition, DUI Checkpoint Planning, conduction of the “Every 15 Minutes” program with Winters High School, participation in “Red Ribbon Week” and the purchase of a new vehicle dedicated to DUI and traffic enforcement.

“This is a new grant made just this year, mostly geared toward training and equipment for the officers. The 2021 Dodge Charger we were granted will be used mostly for DUI saturation patrols,” said Hermosillo. “We just utilized the grant for Red Ribbon Week and were able to go to schools in town and gave goody bags to kids. The kids really enjoyed that, the Twizzlers and pop-bracelets we gave them.”

These grants will support WPD officers in helping to keep Winters a safe place for visitors and community members alike.

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