State funds to battle local DUIs
August 13, 2009
By Tim Pfarr
Newcastle officials recently received confirmation that they will receive funds from the Washington State Traffic Commission through the Drive Hammered, Get Nailed program, which runs from Aug. 14 to Sept. 7.
The city may receive up to $1,200.
The program works to fight driving under the influence by putting additional police units on the road during night hours, when such driving is most common. The funds from the program will be used to pay for the overtime of Newcastle Police officers during this time, as the additional units on the road will be Newcastle’s existing officers. The police force consists of six patrol officers and Chief Melinda Irvine.
Newcastle received funds from the Drive Hammered, Get Nailed program in 2006, 2007 and 2008, receiving just under $900, $800 and $200 each year, respectively. The program runs from mid-August through Labor Day each year.
“The WSTC grants are a great help to our agency,” Irvine said. “They allow us to put extra officers on the streets.”
This year, the commission will distribute $200,000 to law enforcement agencies statewide through the Drive Hammered, Get Nailed program.
Newcastle Police have also applied for the next session of the X52 program, which provides funds to local law enforcement agencies to battle speeding and driving under the influence.
The commission distributes funds for the X52 program, and the upcoming session will run from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30, 2010. Like Drive Hammered, Get Nailed funds, X52 funds pay for the overtime of local law enforcement officers.
The title X52 represents the presence of extra units on the road all weeks of the year. Since beginning in February 2008, the program has had two sessions, and Newcastle has received funds in both. The city received $2,000 in the first session and $3,300 in the second.
For the 2008-2009 session, the commission set aside $800,000 to pay for officer overtime statewide. However, the commission has not yet announced how much money it will distribute in the 2009-2010 session, and Newcastle has not yet received confirmation that it will get funds.
Irvine said she is hopeful the city will receive funds again.
“Traffic safety is a high priority for the citizens of Newcastle,” she said.