The Governor’s Office on Highway Safety awarded the Marana Police Department three grants, totaling $85,000, to be used for DUI enforcement and deterrence and to avert speeding and aggressive driving.
Two grants totaling $70,000 will pay for overtime and employee-related expenses for officers participating in DUI Enforcement and STEP/Speed Enforcement activities.
STEP Enforcement is a national program that puts more patrols on the highway during high-accident times of the day. It’s hard for the local police departments to patrol Marana’s 312 miles of local roads and highway while also taking care of calls from the community, said Marana Police Chief Terry Rozema.
Fatal crashes in Marana’s jurisdiction doubled in 2016 from the two previous years, from three to six, according to town data. The total number of crashes increased by 12 percent from 2015 to 2016.
As the town’s population increased, police staffing levels haven’t kept up, putting a burden on the existing police force, according to town documents. With the help of the GOHS grants, MPD has goals to decrease the number of speeding-related crashes and serious injuries by 10 percent, decrease impaired-related crashes by 15 percent, decrease impiared-related injuries by 30 percent and evade related fatalities entirely in 2018.
In that same time, they plan to increase the number of speeding and aggressive-driving citations by 15 percent, from 1,031 in the 2016 fiscal year to 1,186 during 2018, as well as increase road and highway patrols, school-zone traffic enforcement and patrols during the local schools’ fall, spring and holiday breaks.
They will also hold a minimum of 20 Know Your Limit public awareness events and two DUI awareness and prevention seminars for high school drivers’ education classes.
A $15,000 grant will fund overtime and employee-related expenses for the new Know Your Limit Program, which focuses on education and prevention at public events where alcohol is being served, including during the Fourth of July, Founder’s Day, Fourth Avenue Street Fair, sporting events and at various bars and restaurants.
Officers “connect with the community and try to educate them,” Rozema said.
They pass out pamphlets and encourage people to use ride-share services like Uber or to have a designated driver, he said.
As part of the overtime, officers will continue participating in the Southern Arizona DUI Task Force, which includes more patrols during peak DUI times and locations.