Guilford County has been one of the most active places in North Carolina when it comes to law enforcement combating drunk driving and now the county will receive a state grant to help continue those efforts.

At the Thursday, Sept. 5 meeting of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners, the board is expected to approve the receipt of a “2019-20 Governor’s Highway Safety DWI Taskforce and DWI Educator Grant” of $139,642 from federal and state sources.

The grant money will be used to sustain the existing multi-agency DWI taskforce program in Guilford County as well as related programs that address traffic issues such as drivers not wearing seatbelts or not keeping their kids in a protective child seat. The funds will be used for community education on these issues as well.

This is the eighth year that Guilford County has received grant funding for the program. In order to qualify, the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department and the High Point Police Department are contributing funds that meet local matching requirements.

Drunk driving became a focal point of former Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes years ago and that focus is something that’s continued under Sheriff Danny Rogers who took office in December.

The timing of the grant is fitting because, at the Sept. 5 meeting, the Board of Commissioners will also adopt a resolution honoring the life of Guilford County Chief District Court Judge Tom Jarrell, who was a major player in the county’s fight against drunk driving. Jarrell was a big supporter of a special DWI court several years ago to help reduce a large backlog of drunk driving court cases. Before his death last month, Jarrell said that the local multi-agency task force is the most productive in the state and added that it brought very good and solid cases to the county’s court system.

The Guilford County Sheriff’s Department is the lead agency in that task force program, which, each year, relies on grant money of this sort to set up special checkpoints and take other measures to combat drunk driving.