Monday January 26, 2009

Building on the successes seen in recent years, the ‘Avoid the 9’ taskforce will be bringing more traffic enforcement to Napa County.  New equipment purchases and special traffic enforcement measures are on tap as a result of a recent $372,688 three year grant awarded by the Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) to the Napa Police Department. The Napa Police Department will be administering the grant for the entire county.  Law enforcement in Napa County is dedicated to keeping our roadways safe through both enforcement and education.

“The ‘Napa County Avoid the 9’ agencies are committed to keeping the DUI offender off of the street,” said Napa Police Chief Rich Melton.  “OTS through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has given us the funds to be diligent in our efforts to deal with the DUI drivers and to keep our communities safe,” said Chief Melton.

‘Avoid the 9” is named to send the message that if you don’t drink and drive, you will avoid getting arrested by any of the nine participating law enforcement agencies in the county. The Avoid grant is to assist all county law enforcement agencies in efforts to deal with increased traffic safety problems and reduce the number of persons killed and injured in traffic collisions attributed to impaired drivers. 

The grant activities will specifically target DUI offenders, drivers with suspended or revoked licenses, repeat DUI offenders with warrants or on probation-parole.  This will be done through the use of DUI/Driver’s License Checkpoints, special multi agencies DUI Task Force enforcement operations, local DUI Saturation Patrols, Warrant/Probation Sweeps and Court Sting operations where DUI offenders with suspended or revoked driver licenses get behind the wheel after leaving court and are stopped and cited and their car is impounded.

The grant provides funding for a lap top computer, DUI/Driver’s license checkpoint supplies, educational materials and overtime to conduct special enforcement activities.

“The Avoid taskforces have played an integral role in the recent reductions in alcohol-related and other deaths on our roadways,” said Christopher J. Murphy, Director of the Office of Traffic Safety.  “This grant will help make Napa County a safer place to live and work.” 

Funding for the grant comes from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 

Agencies participating in the ‘Avoid the 9’ taskforce include: 

  • Napa Police Department
  • Napa Sheriffs Department
  • American Canyon Police Department
  • Saint Helena Police Department
  • Calistoga Police Department
  • Napa Valley College Police Department
  • California Highway Patrol
  • Napa County Probation Department
  • Alcohol Beverage and Control Agency