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The Palm Springs Police Department began using a $165,000 grant this month on programs aimed at curbing drunken driving.
â€œItâ€™ll allow us to continue our enforcement efforts at about the same levels as last year,â€ said Sgt. Paul Abshire, who oversees the departmentâ€™s traffic division.
The grant money has been used for two sobriety checkpoints this month and will fund other efforts through the end of September, he said.
The new grant is slated to pay for checkpoints, warrant sweeps and about 75 extra patrols specifically focused on catching drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, Abshire said.
But even with added funding for four presentations to high school and middle school students, the department will get less money from the state this year.
â€œItâ€™s quite a bit lesss than last year,â€ Abshire said. â€œWe didnâ€™t get any major equipment purchases this year.â€
Palm Springs police received $236,521 in state grants in 2010, according to the California Office of Traffic Safety.
Part of that money was used for a new trailer used at checkpoints, collision-investigation software and automatic citation writers that can track where incidents occur, Abshire said.
Still, police hope to secure other, smaller grants throughout the year, he added.
Palm Springs has had the most alcohol-related crashes among cities its size every year but once since 2000.
Abshire said the grant-funded programs have had an effect.
â€œSince weâ€™ve had the grants … weâ€™ve seen an increase in DUI arrests and a decrease in fatal DUI collisions,â€ he said.