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Amherst Police receive $17,000 grant

Amherst Police Chief Scott P. Livingstone announced on Tuesday, Nov. 24 that the Amherst Police Department has been named the recipient of a $17,000 grant from the federal Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s Highway Safety Division.

The grant is intended to fund law enforcement agencies in their efforts to provide staff for ongoing motor vehicle programs, including “Click it or Ticket,” and “Over the Limit, Under Arrest.” Amherst Police suggested that the money will be put towards the purchase of safety equipment (including public awareness signs for traffic safety), speed monitoring radar units and modern accident reconstruction equipment.

The funding comes at a time when law enforcement agencies across the country are working to minimize the effect of the global economic downturn on their continuing initiatives, despite massive budget cuts in nearly every community. The grant also likely reflects the large student driver populace of the town, which has unique consequences on the task faced by law enforcement.

“As we struggle with budget challenges and substantial reductions in state and federal grant funding, we are fortunate to be awarded this grant,” said Chief Livingstone in a press release Tuesday. “It is because of our proven record of being committed to traffic safety, by aggressively enforcing the drunk driving and aggressive driving laws, that we have received this much needed funding. We are committed to the safety of this community and will continue to be diligent about educating the public about safe driving, especially seatbelt usage.”

According to the press release, in the fiscal year 2009 the Amherst Police Department issued 144 citations or warnings to persons for not wearing seatbelts, including eight for improperly restrained children.

Amherst Police also criminally charged 124 persons with operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, with 11 of those persons being charged for the second or subsequent time.

For additional information, residents may go to www.amherstpd.org, where they can also utilize the town’s Online Incident Reporting System to request special traffic enforcement in their neighborhood.

Nick Bush can be reached at nbush@student.umass.edu.

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