State grant will buy cars, radar and computers

By on October 21, 2011

Becky Wallace, highway safety program director. (Voice)

Deputies will soon hit the roads with new cars, video cameras, computers and radar purchased with a state grant.

The $165,000 grant was awarded to the Dare County Sheriff’s Office through the Governor’s Highway Safety Program with a $55,000 local match.

Sheriff Doug Doughtie said Thursday most of the money will be used to form a new traffic safety team to patrol rural roads. No new personnel will be added.

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“In addition to some extra enforcement tools, we will have strong public information programs to raise awareness about driving while impaired, texting while driving, and the dangers of excessive speed,” Doughtie said.

The money will buy three vehicles for $30,000 each. They will be painted white on black, the opposite of the current color scheme, to distinguish them as traffic enforcement vehicles.

Doughtie said no decision has been made on what kind of vehicles the office will buy. But they will probably not be Chrysler products because of problems with earlier models.

Money will also go toward three computer terminals for vehicles costing $8,000 each.

Seven in-car cameras will be added to the 16 already installed in vehicles. Money will also go toward three hand-held radar guns with laser beams that can pinpoint vehicles in traffic.

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Three pole-mounted radar units for use on roadsides will also be added.

The traffic enforcement unit will do its work in Colington, in Wanchese, on the mainland and on Hatteras Island, where there is no longer a state trooper permanently assigned, Doughtie said.

Becky Wallace, director of the highway safety program, was on hand for a ceremonial presentation of the grant outside the Dare County courthouse Thursday.

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Forfeitures and money already in the sheriff’s budget will cover $25,000 of the local share and $30,000 will come from the county’s contingency fund.

“Our partnership and the dedication of your officers guarantee a successful program,” Wallace said.

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