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Published: Wednesday, 2/14/2007

Police get grant to monitor highways

BY JOE VARDON
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Use caution when traveling on State Rt. 20, State Rt. 25, and State Rt. 795 in Perrysburg Township.

The township police may be watching.

Through a state-issued grant for nearly $27,000, the township police department is paying its officers overtime to periodically target those three roads for traffic enforcement.

Lt. Jim Pellek said that at least once a month, officers stake out one of those three routes looking for speed, seat-belt, and drunken-driving violations. When an officer is on this extra assignment, he or she is instructed not to respond to law-enforcement situations occurring elsewhere.

Lieutenant Pellek said that the township first received this particular grant when its number of fatalities on those three roads jumped from two in 2004 to five the next year.

The grant is in its second year. The lieutenant said that he has seen vast improvements, including a drop to three fatalities on those roads last year.

"I think we've been very successful in this program," Lieutenant Pellek said. "We were awarded a new radar unit last year for our improvements, and I was told we're receiving another one in April for the same thing."

This grant, which is funded through the Governor's Highway Safety Office in the Ohio Department of Public Safety, runs from

Oct. 1, 2006, through Sept. 30 of this year.

As part of the grant, township police must conduct selective enforcement "blitzes" in which officers on overtime stake out a few designated areas. Each grant recipient must notify media outlets when and where its next blitz will take place.

Lieutenant Pellek said that his department's last blitz, during Super Bowl weekend, wasn't very successful because of the frigid temperatures and messy driving conditions that kept many indoors.

But since the grant was renewed in October, the lieutenant said that township officers have issued 11 seat-belt citations, 105 speeding tickets, and eight other citations in 184 overtime hours worked.

Lieutenant Pellek, who oversees the township's participation in this grant program along with Officer Bob Weber, said last week that the next blitz date was still being considered.

Mandatory blitzes for all grant recipients are scheduled on most major holidays, popular school functions such as homecoming and prom, and the Super Bowl, as well as during national law-enforcement programs like "Click It or Ticket" and "You Drink & Drive. You Lose."

Contact Joe Vardon at:

jvardon@theblade.com

or 419-410-5055.



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