Neosho residents may have noticed a heavier law enforcement presence around town Saturday evening, as the Neosho Police Department had extra officers on the streets.
The added enforcement focused on hazardous moving violations and motorists driving while intoxicated, and was made possible by a $5,000 Highway Safety grant, according to Neosho Police Chief Dave McCracken.
The department was awarded the grant, administered through the Missouri Department of Transportation, in August 2012.
He said two extra off-duty officers were hired Saturday evening to focus on busy traffic areas or known problem areas in Neosho.
Officers made several traffic stops as part of the extra enforcement detail, though McCracken said officers encountered only one DWI that evening.
While Saturday was the night for many area St. Patrick's Day celebrations, McCracken said the holiday was not the reason for the extra enforcement.
"They happen randomly," McCracken said. "Usually around the weekends."
McCracken said the federal funds, filtered through the state via MoDOT, allow the department to concentrate on certain areas more heavily than would be possible without the additional funding.
He said the extra enforcement happens as a means to cut down on traffic-related issues.
"It's just to try to reduce accidents, that's the main thing," McCracken said.
The Neosho Police Department has again applied for the highway safety grant, this time submitting two applications, to help fund a focus on hazardous driving in high accident areas and on driving while intoxicated enforcement.
The department also requested funding to purchase radar units and portable breath testing units, to assist in DWI enforcement.
McCracken approached the Neosho City Council in their March 5 meeting to request permission to apply for the grants, which was approved.
He said the department had applied for the grant annually in the past and has been successful in obtaining the funding.