Members of the Lodi Police Department were honored Tuesday for their efforts in promoting traffic safety through enforcement and public awareness in 2010.
The department received first place in the California Law Enforcement Challenge, which is connected with a $125,000 grant the department received from Oct. 1, 2010 to Sept. 30 of this year.
Lodi took first place out of seven agencies of similar size.
Christopher Murphy, the director of the Office of Traffic Safety, presented the award Tuesday morning.
The grant allowed the department to pay for a variety of enforcement efforts, including training, equipment, DUI checkpoints, DUI saturation patrols, warrant sweeps and court stings.
Any city that received the grant was required to submit a detailed report for the award outlining their policies and guidelines, training, recognition of officers and enforcement activities. It also asked how the department promotes awareness of their enforcement efforts throughout the community.
In the past, Lodi has qualified for mini-grants, usually for specific enforcement efforts, but never received a large one that covers many different areas, Sgt. Chris Jacobson said.
Lodi is one of only two cities in San Joaquin that qualified for the grant again, and it will begin on Oct. 1, Jacobson said.
"I think it's the overall success. Our department does a really good job enforcing DUI laws and traffic," he said.
Jacobson spent about three weeks compiling the report by collecting information and making charts to create what essentially looks like a yearbook detailing the department's accomplishments.
The report includes stories and photos about the department, stats on enforcement for 2010 and descriptions of community events like National Night Out and Every 15 Minutes.
For example, in 2010 the department issued 700 citations for seatbelt or child seat violations and 3,129 tickets for speeding. Officers also arrested 319 people for DUI.
Jacobson said the city has had some high-profile DUI crashes and has a high rate of DUI arrests, which helps in getting the grant.
"Unfortunately, the worse you do with DUI (collision statistics), the better you do with the grant. Obviously, our statistics show that grants help us fight the DUI issue in Lodi," he said.
The officers work hard to make use of the grant and keep Lodi safe, Jacobson said. An example is an officer on a recent Wednesday made four DUI arrests and arrested a parolee at large. For every DUI arrest, there is at least an hour of paperwork.
"They work very hard to make the city streets safe for all of us," Jacobson said. "We want people to go out and have fun at our restaurants and bars, but we want people to make it home alive."