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Getting a grant can be a great thing, but as some are finding, strings can be attached.
A hearty debate has been stirring over the last two months concerning a grant that would provide additional resources to conduct DWI checkpoints throughout the county.
The Rural Alcohol Drug Enforcement task force is a group made up of Richmond, Orrick, Wood Heights and Henrietta police officers and are the ones conducting the checkpoints.
Recently a $25,700 grant was applied for by the Richmond Police Department for this program. Some Richmond Councilmen were opposed to the grant because they believed there were additional costs associated with the grant.
Randy Silvey with the Missouri Department of Transportation told The Daily News that the grants are 100 percent for equipment and overtime pay.
However, last week Henrietta City Clerk Margie Long told Aldermen that there is some cost for their city. She says the grant does not cover payroll taxes and that it causes workman’s comp insurance rates to go up.
Silvey said the grant money is intended to be seed money for a community or agency.
“We would like to see that be a sustained effort over several years because of the costs involved in the equipment,” Silvey said. “The hope is that city or agency will take it over and keep it going.”
Silvey said the department does fund some agencies year after year because of need.
“We would like to see the cost go down for us so we can move on to other communities,” he said.
The Council decided to take no action on the grant because Police Chief Terri McWilliams told them that she did not need council approval for the grant. Some councilmen such as Terrie Stanley felt that the Ray County Coalition or RADE should take over the grant.
Silvey explained that MoDOT does not provide money up front to buy the equipment. He said many times a city such as Richmond will act as the upfront buyer of equipment. He said MoDOT would then reimburse the agency or community for the costs.
Silvey also said there are grants available for saturation patrols. Silvey said saturation patrols are much more effective than checkpoints. However, he said checkpoints serve a purpose of letting the public know that law enforcement is doing something about drinking and driving. Silvey said Highway 210 in Ray County is a prime candidate for patrols.