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KCSO receives DUI grant

Funding will cover 2 officers, cars, equipment

Posted: October 4, 2011 4:48 p.m.
Updated: October 5, 2011 5:00 a.m.

The Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office has a new tool to help in reducing the county’s DUI fatality rate, the highest per capita in the state.

Sheriff Jim Matthews applied for a grant through the federal Office of Highway Safety and learned last week from the S.C. Department of Public Safety that the grant was approved. Funding from this grant in the amount of $189,589 will pay for two full-time DUI enforcement officers, two patrol cars, fuel, equipment and training. The grant is for one year, but is renewable yearly with a high likelihood, Matthews said, that it will be approved for three years.

Kershaw County’s distinction of having the highest DUI fatality rate in the Palmetto State is “unacceptable,” the sheriff said.

 “More people are killed in alcohol-related traffic accidents in our county than are killed by armed robbers, murderers, gangbangers combined. Something had to be done,” said Matthews.

The federal funding for additional officers will be a valuable resource in tackling the problem, he said.

 “I can see no downside to this grant. Too many people in Kershaw County seem to think it is OK to drink and drive, including many of my friends. I don’t want to lose any of them or anyone else for that matter. Some other county can take our place at the top of the DUI fatality list. This is one category where I would like for us to be in last place,” said Matthews.

Kershaw County Council will ultimately have to approve the increase in personnel for the sheriff’s office. No additional funding will be requested as the grant will cover the complete expense.

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