Grayson County is at the top of a list that no county wants to make.
“Since Dec. 1, there have been 21 DUI or DWI subjects arrested and put into our county jail,” Grayson County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Sarah Bigham told the Grayson County Commissioners Court on Tuesday.
“Twenty-one?” Grayson County Judge Bill Magers questioned.
“Twenty-one in last 10 days,” Bigham answered. And she said that is part of a larger trend.
“We also learned through this grant application that Grayson County is one of the top 25 counties for fatality alcohol-related accidents over the last five years,” she said.
The grant application she spoke of is for a STEP Impaired Driving Mobilization Grant with the Texas Department of Transportation. If the GCSO applied for the grant, the county would have to provide 20 percent of the funds for the 160-hour program. The state would provide the other 80 percent. Grayson County’s part would be a maximum of $1,796. The state would pay $6,910. The grant would cover extra law enforcement on the street at four periods during the year, December, March July and September.
“It will allow officers to work an additional 40 hours a week during those holiday periods,” Bigham said.
She said the overtime will be split between several officers who will work on their time off. A few hours after Bigham left the commissioners, however, she said the GCSO was not planning to apply for the grant after all.
“We are still eligible to apply,” she explained in an email. “But there are certain restrictions on where we could enforce DWIs with this program and we wanted to be able to provide a more broad service to the community.”
Commissioner Jeff Whitmire asked if Grayson County’s placement on that list of top 25 was related to population or were there really just that many more people driving drunk in the county.
Bigham explained that the county’s closeness to the Metroplex is likely the key. She said other counties that were included on the list were also adjacent to big metropolitan areas like San Antonio and Austin.
A look back at the indictments released by Grayson County since Jan. 1 shows the county has returned approximately 38 indictments for driving while intoxicated — third or more and approximately seven for driving while intoxicated with a child under 15 in the vehicle.