Using a federal grant, Delaware County Sheriff Walter Davis III has stepped up enforcement to slow down winter traffic and make the roads safer.

Using a federal grant, Delaware County Sheriff Walter Davis III has stepped up enforcement to slow down winter traffic and make the roads safer.

"Part of the mission of the Delaware County Sheriff's Office is protecting our community, which includes saving lives on our roadways," Davis said in an e-mail. "When someone violates the speed limit or drives in an aggressive manner, they are not only risking their own safety, but the safety of everyone else on the roads."

The 2009 "High Visibility Enforcement Overtime" grant provided Davis with $57,270 to increase the number of deputies patrolling the roads, his office said.

In January, deputies worked 36 overtime hours paid for by a federal grant, the sheriff's office said.

During the blitz, which began in January and continues this month, "sheriff's deputies are more visible in order to promote safe driving" and "will crack down on drivers who violate the speed limits," drive aggressively and are not wearing their seat belts, the press release said.

It's important to remind drivers to be patient and wear seat belts, Davis' office said. Increasing patrols also encourages safer driving and reminds citizens the department is there to assist them.

Davis' initiative follows a national model for traffic and highway safety, said Lindsay Komlanc of the Ohio Department of Public Safety, which disperses the grants.

"One common theme in highway safety is that education paired with enforcement can change the behavior," Komlanc said.

Ohio annually receives about $3-million in federal dollars for the grant, which Komlanc said allows local law enforcement districts to combat a known problem.

To be eligible to apply for the grant, the enforcement district must have more than 2.25 fatal crashes, on average, over a three-year period.

The February initiative follows a successful month of high-visibility enforcement in January. Davis said, "We're pleased to be able to increase patrols. This is what our duty is all about, encouraging safety and protecting the Delaware County community."