St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News)- There will be a new tool coming to southeast Minnesota that has the goal of increasing safety on the area’s roads. 

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The tool is a vehicle that gives law enforcement a unique perspective on citizen driving behavior. Nine Minnesota law enforcement agencies will each receive the vehicle. 

The Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety announced a total $642,325 in grants that will help each of the nine selected agencies purchase what a news release describes as specialized pick-up that gives law officers a higher vantage point that allows them to see inside of other vehicles on the road. 

State Patrol photo (twitter)
State Patrol photo (twitter)

The pick-ups will allow authorities to better see if drivers are on their phones, driving unbuckled or engaging in other behaviors, officials say. 

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The rollout of the pick-ups come as Minnesota sees a 61% increase from last in deaths on the state’s roads from the beginning of the year through April 10, according to state officials. 

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The Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office is among the nine agencies receiving a grant that will fund the purchase of the pick-up truck. 

When we respond to a crash, we see far too often how a dangerous choice can take a life or seriously hurt the people involved. By then, it’s too late. The higher vantage point of the traffic safety vehicle will help us see distractions, unbelted passengers and child restraint issues and intervene before something terrible happens.

-Olmsted County Sheriff Kevin Torgerson

Olmsted County Sheriff Kevin Torgerson discussed being awarded the grant during his most recent appearance on KROC-AM’s Rochester Today.

Although the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office is the recipient of the truck, it won’t exclusively be seen on the county’s roads. 

Torgerson and leaders of the other grant recipients plan to share the pick-up with neighboring law enforcement agencies. Toregerson says the vehicle will also be showcased to the public at various community events.

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Gallery Credit: T.J. Leverentz