Sheriff's Dept. awarded grant for OWI, seat belt patrol - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Sheriff's Dept. awarded grant for OWI, seat belt patrol

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) – Drivers are told to buckle up because it's the law. And thanks to a new grant, the La Crosse County Sheriff's Department will be out making sure drivers do just that.

The Bureau of Transportation Safety awarded the department a $10,000 seat belt grant and a $25,000 OWI grant to send officers out overtime to enforce traffic rules.

The OWI grant also funds three portable radios.

“OWI grant, seat belt grant, it just allows you to be out just focusing on traffic. So you're not taking any domestic situation calls or any trespassing--any other situation call. You are just specifically taking care of traffic,” said Sgt. Jim Jacobson.

Jacobson said he will pull over more than 10 people for not wearing a seat belt in his four hour shift. But since the grant applies to all traffic rules, he'll pull drivers over if they break any one of them.

Since January, the Sheriff's Department has received 500 driving complaint calls, many in rural areas where people are driving at high speeds.

Jacobson said the grant applies to all of La Crosse County—except in the City of La Crosse.

The grant is not to hand out tickets, Jacobson added, it's to encourage voluntary compliance to make the roads safer for everyone.

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