Finance board approves DUI grant

The Wilton Police Department has applied for another Comprehensive DUI Grant — something it’s done for “more than 20 years in a row,” Chief Michael Lombardo told the Board of Finance on Nov. 18.

“The grant would allow us to … patrol and specifically try to look for people who are driving intoxicated and make arrests,” said Chief Lombardo, who said it would also allow more officers than usual to patrol at a time.

“It also allows us to have two field sobriety checkpoints in Wilton at various times throughout the year. I think we have July 4th and Labor Day weekend as listed in this grant, but we can always change those later if we would like to.”

The federal government would reimburse the town 75% of the total grant amount, which, Chief Lombardo said, is “a little more than $57,000,” leaving the town responsible for no more than $14,275.

Chief Lombardo said the $14,275 is included in the department’s overtime budget.

“That $14,275 is the maximum that we would spend. Usually, what they ask us for is what [our] average rates for overtime [are],” he said.

“I don’t know who’s going to work overtime, but some officers get different rates than others.”

Chief Lombardo said the grant does not include compensation for fuel, wear and tear on equipment, or mileage put on police vehicles — “it’s just for the officers’ overtime rate salaries.”

“When we have the field sobriety checkpoint — wherever we put it — that’s usually stationary so the cars aren’t moving — we’re not burning as much fuel, we’re not putting as many miles on the vehicles — it’s when they’re doing the patrolling,” he told the finance board.

Even when patrolling, he said, the police vehicles are sometimes parked as officers observe motorists and look for violations.

The Board of Finance unanimously approved the police department’s request to receive the grant funding.