City of Destin, sheriff's office try again for traffic grant

Matt Algarin

The city of Destin and the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office are working on a joint grant application that could potentially bring in $50,000.

"Any additional resources we can get the better," said Lindey Chabot, grants and projects manager for the city. "As money becomes scarce, grants are harder to come by, especially when you are a smaller city — grants are typically given to bigger cities."

Earlier this year the city and the sheriff's office applied for a $75,000 traffic safety grant that would have "supplemented traffic activities" in the city, but due to diminished grant funds and "demands of existing grantee programs," the Sheriff’s Office was recently told the money was not available.

An application for a DUI Enforcement Grant is currently being drafted and reviewed before it is submitted through the Florida Department of Transportation. Funds from the grant, if approved, would be available for the 2014 fiscal year.

The $50,000 grant would fund nearly 1,800 additional hours of traffic enforcement in the city of Destin, according to information from the city. The grant application is a joint venture since the city does not have its own police force.

As part of the city's annual budget, funding is dedicated to secure additional deputies in the city. For the 2013 fiscal year the city paid the sheriff's office $1,140,037.

Although smaller cities typically don't see as much grant funding as their larger counterparts, Chabot told The Log that the city of Destin does have a unique advantage due to the amount of visitors.

"What makes us kind of special is that we have a permanent population of about 12,000, but we are trying to police for a much larger population," she said.

Chabot said the current application for the DUI Enforcement Grant would more than likely be submitted by September and grant awards would be announced in October.