Genesee County police providing extra traffic patrols with federal grant

Published: Jul. 16, 2021 at 5:31 PM EDT
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GENESEE COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) - Anyone who has driven through Grand Blanc and Mundy townships recently may have noticed more of a police presence on the roads or even in neighborhoods.

This is federal grant money at work. Grand Blanc Township Police Chief Ron Wiles said the increased patrols are targeted enforcement efforts to crack down on drunk driving and seat belt use.

For officers with the Grand Blanc Township Police Department, keeping a community safe starts with the hands at 10 and 2.

“Currently, we’re going through a grant cycle right now where we have extra vehicles on the road, extra cruisers and officers looking for impaired drivers and people not wearing their seat belts,” Wiles said.

The federal dollars are administered through the Michigan Office of Highway and Safety Planning. Drivers won’t know exactly when or where there might be a targeted enforcement.

“There’s several days of the grant -- consecutive days or maybe a couple days this week and a couple days next week -- we get two to three additional officers out on the road as a result of these grants,” Wiles said.

Police tend to see more people driving while intoxicated during the summer months because of the weather and holidays like Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day. But officers aren’t just keeping a watchful eye out for who has had a few too many.

“Any dangerous driving behavior you see, officers are going to take action,” Wiles said. “If they see someone speeding down the road at 100 mph, they’re going to stop that vehicle.”

These targeted enforcement aren’t unique to Grand Blanc Township. Neighboring Mundy Township also has increased patrols as part of the same grant. Oftentimes, different departments will combine forces to do one massive targeted enforcement.

When police departments do these targeted enforcements, their success is in the numbers. Out of 12 days so far, Grand Blanc Township officers have made 260 traffic stops and issued 47 speeding citations.

They also made several drunken driving arrests, seized cocaine and handguns and found several seat belt violations.

The most recent driving stats in Michigan show that impaired driving represented more than 42% of Michigan traffic fatalities. In 2019 alone, 295 people died in Michigan as a result of alcohol-involved traffic crashes, which was a decrease from 315 in 2018.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 10,511 people lost their lives in traffic crashes involving alcohol impairment during 2018.

Wiles said Grand Blanc Township police still have five more days of targeted enforcement under the grant.

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