Patrols increase on local highway
The Tonganoxie Police Department is partnering with other law enforcement agencies in Kansas to conduct high levels of enforcement on U.S. Highway 24.
The step-up in police patrols along the highway will culminate on Thursday.
Tonganoxie police, along with the Leavenworth County sheriff's department and the Kansas Highway Patrol, will focus on violations of laws on speed, impaired drivers and seatbelt use. Officers will take a zero tolerance on the driver who drives while impaired or who refuses to use proper restraints for themselves or their passengers, said acting Police Chief John Putthoff.
"It is an obligation as law enforcement to reduce the injuries and deaths on our roadways," he said. "If we can get people to slow down, buckle up and stop drinking and driving, lives will be saved. In our department, Sergeant Brian Daily is very effective in getting drunks off the road. Keep in mind, it is the innocent one that usually comes up on the short end of the deal."
A similar effort currently is under way on Kansas Highway 4.
According to information from the Kansas Department of Transportation, 469 people were killed in traffic accidents last year in Kansas.
Putthoff said his department wants to help prevent future highway deaths -- by enforcing laws on use of seatbelts and child restraints, along with working to rid roads of drunken drivers.
"So when you see officers out pulling someone over, whether it be our officers or another agency, there is a positive reason for it -- rather than meeting a quota," Putthoff said.
In addition, KDOT is observing "Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day," which is set for Sunday. The observance will include the elaborate staging of alcohol-related mock crashes at four Kansas high schools, including Bonner Springs High School on the morning of Oct. 15.
In addition, from Friday to Sunday, people attending the FanWalk area at Kansas Speedway can visit a transportation-safety booth where safety materials and promotional items will be distributed. Also featured will be the Kansas Highway Patrol's rollover vehicle.