Drivers in Kansas City beware. Police are warning that officers are increasing traffic enforcement, and the number of tickets has increased dramatically.
Kansas City police officers issued thousands of tickets this year, more than last, but police say it's not because of the reasons drivers might think.
"It might be a little disingenuous to suggest we've renewed our focus. We have the same focus today as we've always had and that's safety," said Capt. Tye Grant with the Kansas City, MO, Police Department.
Last year officers issued a little under 3,000 tickets to speeders and this year that number doubled. The number of those ticketed for not wearing seat belts also increased.
Grant said those numbers could come from a variety of different reasons, but certainly not to increase revenue.
"If you look back at prior years, that's comparing it to 2013, numbers were higher than they were this year, so weather, traffic, all those things could be factors as to why those things would fluctuate," he said.
Officers moved from municipal court, red light camera division and other units to create a fifth traffic enforcement squad. The numbers don't count tickets written by the new traffic enforcement squad.
Drivers say they are definitely more aware.
"Somehow we got to stop them. It's going to stop wrecks so that's fine," said Michael Chaney.
"They start going out a little more than I used to see them before," said Getty Beyne.
City officials say officers have written a low number of traffic tickets for years, and they have considered several ways to improve traffic safety.
Others note that the increase comes after courts forced the city to end its red-light camera program, which generated more than 31,000 tickets annually.
Grant says the additional traffic squad with about ten officers did not add to the increase from last year to this year. The squad began operating May 19.
Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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