Community law enforcement secures grants

Lenoir City Police Officer Dennis Guider sits alongside U.S. Highway 321 in front of the Lenoir City Municipal Building.

Loudon County Sheriff’s Office and Lenoir City Police Department were recently beneficiaries of grants by the Tennessee Highway Safety Office.

Of $22.6 million in federal funds distributed statewide, LCPD was awarded $35,000, while LCSO will receive $5,000.

Lenoir City Police Chief Don White said the department applies for the grant each year, and although it isn’t guaranteed, the city typically receives funding of some sort.

“I think we actually got close to ($35,000) last year but we’ve gotten as little as $12,000 in previous years. But it is a huge benefit for our additional patrols, for DUI enforcement as well as other safety violations such as seat belts, texting while driving and speeding,” White said.

Money will go toward additional officer patrols, a pole-mounted speed sign and at least four speed radars for new patrol vehicles, White said.

A location for the speed sign is undetermined, he said.

“We feel like it is a bit of a deterrent,” White said. “It’s just a reminder for drivers, people get distracted with whatever they may be doing that particular day and their speed may pick up a little bit, and if that thing’s flashing at them, they look down and it will usually just get their attention. We do feel like it’s a positive deterrent for speed, for sure.”

Funds could be sent to agencies within 90 days.

“Anytime we can get grant money supplied to us at the state level and federal level it is just a benefit to our local taxpayer because it’s something that I don’t have to put into a request in my budget proposal in March and April of each year,” White said. “I always have a wish list of things that we need to continue to do our job and anytime that we know that there’s a possibility of getting a grant, then we will apply.”

According to a document from THSO, the sheriff’s office will use the funds for “high visibility enforcement.”

“High visibility is a $5,000 grant that usually is given every year,” Jimmy Davis, LCSO chief deputy, said. “It’s not really a competitive grant, we just apply for it. It’s basically to get the Tennessee Highway Safety Office to give local agencies money that we can do things such as road blocks or interdiction, everything from overtime from officers to equipment. We’ve done overtime for officers. We’ve split it this year. We did $2,500 for overtime money to run our Labor Day enforcement program, the Click It or Ticket, but we’ll also do it for equipment. We’ve bought radar guns in the past and things of that nature for our cars.

“We have an enclosed trailer we’re getting ready to use it for more educational,” he added. “So at festivals and things like that you’ll see the sheriff’s office with the trailer out doing the drunk goggles and doing things for education of drinking and driving and speeding and distracted driving.”