DELAWARE COUNTY – The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office recently awarded a $20,000 federal grant to the Delaware County Sheriff’s Department to help improve the county’s safety record with extra day and night shift patrol, and video cameras.

Off-duty deputies are signing up to run the random shifts in an effort to help reduce the number of KAB (people killed, ambulatory and sustaining blood cuts requiring little medical attention) crashes in Delaware County by 6% from 151 in 2007 to 142 in 2010.

Deputies have been aggressively working the county on traffic stops for the past few weeks and have issued numerous tickets. Violators will be ticketed for any traffic infraction that could cause an accident.

“There’s been some confusion and concern from people who see deputies writing tickets,” said Delaware County Sheriff Jay Blackfox. “These off-duty deputies are part of the grant program and it is their job during that shift to only write traffic citations. We’re not participating in the program to harass anybody, we’re doing this in an effort to keep the roads safe for our residents and tourists.”

In 2007, the Oklahoma Department of Pubic Safety reported Delaware County ranked 5th in the state in total KAB crashes, 5th in unsafe speed KAB crashes and 3rd in alcohol-related KAB crashes.

“In the summertime, we have an influx of tourists who are here on vacation and partying. They are drinking and driving, our officers will be out looking for those who violate the law in order to bring the number of accidents down in the county,” said Delaware County Sheriff’s Major Robert Rowley. “The officers are asked to make at least 16 contacts per shift. This can be either issuing a citation or a warning.”

The program will also include traffic safety checkpoints and sobriety checkpoints to address occupant protection and safe driving.