BRPD gets state grant for highway safety efforts

The Baton Rouge Police Department has received a grant of about $500,000 from the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission that will be used to fund 16,000 hours of manpower to enforce impaired driving, seat belt use, speeding and underage drinking, officials said.

The program aims to reduce alcohol-related fatalities and underage drinking while increasing seat belt usage among drivers and passengers, according to Cpl. L’Jean McKneely, a Baton Rouge police spokesman.

Police began Thursday night increasing the enforcement effort of underage drinking, which involves officers concentrating on areas such as college campuses, bars and clubs, McKneely said.

In addition to the enforcement aspect of the grant, he said, officers will also spend time in local classrooms educating young people about the dangers of alcohol abuse.

The National Highway Safety Administration partnered with the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission to provide the grant.