The Richmond City Council has deferred a decision on a grant to purchase equipment for DWI checkpoints until further study.
The council voted 7-1 Thursday night to send the grant application to the Public Safety Committee for further review. Jason Berning was the only no vote.
The grant is from the Missouri Department of Transportation for more than $25,000. The money would go towards the purchase of all of the necessary equipment needed to conduct a check point and overtime pay for officers.
Some councilmen were concerned about some of the wording in the grant that requires the city to make a dedicated effort to seek more funding if funds run out.
Police Chief Terri McWilliams said the only stipulation is that the city not sell or give away the equipment and to maintain it.
“They have DWI enforcement. They have safety belt enforcement. We do all of those things anyway and we send those statistics to them,” McWilliams said. “That’s what they’re talking about – a dedicated attempt. We’ll still attempt to participate in those programs, which we do now anyway. There is nothing to financially support.”
McWilliams, along with Mayor Lance Green and City Administrator Rick Childers seemed bewildered by some of the other councilmen’s reluctance to move forward. McWilliams said if Richmond does not want the money, someone else would take it.
“This is free money and if we don’t do this tonight we lose it and then Orrick is going to have it or Wood Heights is going to have it or somewhere else,” she said.
McWilliams told councilmen that the department did not seek out this grant. She said a representative of MoDOT, Randy Silvey, contacted the city and made an offer.
“There is free money out there when you’re doing the right thing,” McWilliams said. “These people called us and offered this to us because they have got a little left over in their end of the year budget and they have to get rid of it or their budget will be refused next year. So they called us.”
Silvey could not be reached on Friday and did not return a message left by press time today.
Councilman Jim Dunwoodie also questioned the effectiveness of the checkpoints and asked McWilliams about it. McWilliams said she did not know the results of the checkpoint.
A checkpoint conducted in Orrick in March netted four minor in possession charges but no DWI arrests were made. According to Richmond Police patrol records six DWI arrests were made in April.