FARMINGTON — At its meeting Tuesday, the Farmington City Council approved more than $300,000 in grant funding to support the city's alcohol enforcement and traffic safety programs.
The money comes in two grants from the New Mexico Department of Transportation's Traffic Safety Division, according to the council agenda. A $200,000 grant covers the cost of three Farmington Police Department officers who are assigned to catch drunken drivers. The other grant funds the police department's four traffic safety programs.
Farmington police Sgt. Dave Monfils said the department has received the first grant since 2008, when it dedicated two full-time officers to DWI arrests. In 2011, the state Department of Transportation increased the grant funding, and the department hired a third full-time DWI officer.
"(DOT) saw the productivity that we had so they upped (the grant money)," Monfils said.
The DWI officers' pay ranges each month, he said. In a month, one DWI officer is paid $4,000 to $6,000, about $2,000 in benefits and often $500 to $1,000 in overtime, Monfils said. The three officers were paid $21,000 in August and $14,000 in January, he said.
The DWI officers stay busy, he said. Each DWI officer makes about 100 arrests a year, he said. Total annual DWI arrests range between 600 and 700, Monfils said.
The grant enters the department into a project agreement with the Department of Transportation. Under the agreement, the city's goal is to reduce DWI-caused deaths by 10 percent in 2014, according to the agenda. Another goal is to increase drunken driving awareness through community education in the hopes of reducing deaths in 2013 and 2014, according to the agenda.
The DWI officers are already trained, Monfils said, and they require no retraining.
The second grant awards the police department $108,956 for four programs to reduce injuries and deaths on the road, according to the agenda.
The grant provides $65,448 to the department's Operation Driving While Intoxicated program. The money pays for more officers to patrol for DWIs through Sept. 30, 2014, Monfils said. It also helps the department maintain checkpoints, he said.
Monfils said about $5,000 from another project grant pays for the Click It or Ticket program, which allows extra officers to enforce seat belt laws from May 19 to June 4, 2014.
A total of $18,420 pays for project Operation Buckle Down, an annual effort to enforce seat belt laws.
An $8,888 sum of project grant money funds the department's Selective Traffic Enforcement Program, according to the agenda. The money allows the department to focus police presence through Sept. 30, 2014, on corridors prone to speeding, careless driving or high crash rates, Monfils said.
The fourth project pays $16,200 to the department's 100 Days and Nights of Summer program from June 20 to Sept. 30, 2014, according to the agenda. The program provides additional summer enforcement, Monfils said.