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Local police chiefs get funds to keep roads safe

January 29, 2010

Local police chiefs get funds to keep roads safe

Herkimer, N.Y. – Area police departments will be receiving over $55,000 in federal funding aimed at getting more patrols on the road and reaching the community with traffic safety education.

As part of $30 million in highway safety grants being distributed statewide, local police chiefs get to decide how they can transform federal money into safer streets.
Here is how much each local chief has to work with:
• Herkimer village PD: $24,411
• Ilion village PD: $16,950
• Little Falls city PD: $4,920
• Frankfort town PD: $5,890
Funds are divided between three main initiatives, distributed by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee.

Of Ilion’s overall funding, $11,000 is being used for Child Passenger Safety program projects. The CPS program allows for spending on child passenger safety education, car seat checks and fitting stations, and distribution of child seats. Herkimer, which previously used grant funds to purchase a trailer for child seat initiatives, is getting $3,000. And Mohawk Valley Community Action Agency is also receiving $3,000 for CPS education.

The Ilion department’s remaining funds will be used for Selective Traffic Enforcement Program projects, which target specific traffic issues in the village.
Buckle-Up New York is the third main program category, supplying funds for education and patrols targeting seat belt violations.

Joseph Malone, Herkimer police chief, said the amount of money allocated through these grant programs is partially performance based. If a department gets results from prior grants, such as increased traffic tickets and decreased violations or accidents, the more funding they get the following year, he said.
Herkimer police officers two years ago were able to use grant funds to put a stop to frequent motorcycle racing, Malone said. Patrol details, funded through the grant, targeted the racers and made several arrests, he added.
The motorcycle racing mainly occurred on state Route 28, heading north out of the village, and state Route 5, in between Herkimer and Ilion. “You could hear them tearing it up, up there,” Malone said, “but we got out there and once they saw us it stopped.”

Herkimer is receiving $7,200 this year for motorcycle safety enforcement and education. The department in the past has held two checkpoints annually in spring and summer months, enforcing motorcycle traffic laws. Malone anticipates adding checkpoint dates this year and upping education outreach at public events.
All motorists can also expect to see more patrols in some of the problem areas around the village. Malone said $9,811 in STEP funding will pay for patrols to be dedicated to persistent traffic hot spots.

Speeding in school zones, such as West German Street by the junior-senior high school, will be targeted. And traffic leaving the Walmart plaza onto Caroline Street will have a few extra patrols watching for illegal turns, Malone said, naming a few of the targets.

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