Archive for Thursday, October 20, 2005

Police chief defends enforcement policy

October 20, 2005

While presenting crime statistics for 2005, Basehor police chief Terry Horner defended his department's practices for issuing speeding tickets.

Issuing tickets in abundance has been a long-held criticism against the department by some local residents. So far this year, police have issued 912 citations -- a number that includes traffic tickets -- which is an 18 percent increase from last year's total of 745 citations.

Horner, who indicated he hadn't spoken with many residents concerned about overzealous officers issuing unwarranted speeding tickets, said motorists abiding by posted speed limits have no concerns.

"My response is, if you're not speeding, you have nothing to fear," the police chief said. He added, "We do not run speed traps, we enforce the law. We protect public safety."

Horner presented 2005 crime statistics to members of the Basehor City Council Monday night.

Across the board, calls for service to the police department have increased by 48 percent.

The only statistical category that hasn't increased for the police department this year is the number of arrests made.

Horner said the figure has decreased because officers are issuing more citations under municipal codes.

This allows cases to be kept in Basehor Municipal Court and saves officers from having to transport offenders to the Leavenworth County Jail, which takes them away from patrol duty in Basehor.

"They get up there and get locked up for three or four hours," Horner said of Basehor officers transporting suspects to the county jail.

"When it's appropriate, we'll write a citation and keep it in city court."

The city's rise in need for police services wasn't lost on some council members. Terry Thomas said "there's a lot of work going on out there," during the police chief's presentation Monday.

Horner hopes other council members have a similar reaction in January when he'll present the governing body with a request to hire two more full-time officers.

Salaries for the new officers are already a part of the 2006 budget.

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