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Forsyth County Sheriffs Office gets HEAT grant

FORSYTH COUNTY — The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office has been awarded a $38,900 grant to develop and implement strategies to reduce highway crashes

The Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety funded the Highway Enforcement of Aggressive Traffic, or HEAT, grant.

It’s part of a statewide goal to “combat deaths and injuries from impaired driving crashes and excessive speeding by increasing the use of seat belts” and to educate “the public about traffic safety and the dangers” of driving under the influence.

The director of the highway safety office, Harris Blackwood, said in a statement that grant recipients “are committed members of the [state] traffic enforcement network, dedicated to protecting our citizens from drunk drivers.”

“Impaired driving is no accident, and DUI is no victimless crime,” Blackwood said.

According to Sheriff Duane Piper, the HEAT project “aims to increase the impaired driver apprehension rate.”

“HEAT Units like ours help accomplish that goal through the systematic delivery of effective DUI and aggressive driving countermeasures and by providing a higher traffic enforcement profile in the community.”

The sheriff’s office coordinates year-round with the highway safety office during waves of “high visibility concentrated patrols, multi-jurisdictional road checks and sobriety checkpoints.”

Many HEAT units are also deployed as part of a joint highway safety response team called Rolling Thunder, used to help reduce high numbers of traffic deaths in other high-risk Georgia communities.

“We know from experience that HEAT teams like Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office are an effective way to maximize our deterrent efforts with impaired drivers,” Blackwood said.