for immediate release
November 20, 2003

N E W S   R E L E A S E

Thanks to a grant from the Florida Department of Transportation, the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office Traffic Safety and Enforcement Unit now has a full-time dedicated position for speeding and aggressive driving enforcement on US Highway 98.

Sheriff Charlie Morris has been notified by the DOT State Safety Program that $55,658 in Highway Safety Funds for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2004 has been awarded for the project

In proposing the project, the Okaloosa County Sheriffs Office cited the increasing number of traffic fatalities in Okaloosa County in recent years, from 16 in 1999 to 21 and 29 the following two years, to 36 in 2002. Seven of last year's 36 fatalities occurred on Highway 98. Highway 98 is described as "traffic saturated," with more than 16-million vehicles crossing Brooks Bridge in 2001. Speeding, impaired driving, and aggressive driving are significant problems on the 24-mile length of Highway 98 in Okaloosa County.

The grant will now funds a Traffic Deputy assigned full-time in an unmarked patrol car to address those problems. As part of the project, "wolf-pack" concentrated enforcement operations will be conducted monthly, and DUI Checkpoints will be conducted four times during the next 12 months.

The new position increases the strength of the Okaloosa County Traffic Safety and Enforcement Unit to seven full-time Deputies.

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for more information contact Rick Hord, Public Information Officer

(850) 651-7420

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