Published 2/9/2013 in Local News : PoliceBy ANGIE HAFLICH
The Garden City Police Department conducted its nighttime seat belt enforcement program Thursday night near the intersection of Kansas Avenue and Third Street and the way in which it was conducted raised some questions by residents.
Becky Malewitz/Telegram A Garden City Police Department officer dressed as a city worker stands in a city truck at the stoplight of Kansas Avenue and Third Street Thursday, looking at cars driving west on Kansas Avenue. He was watching for drivers not wearing seat belts during a GCPD seat belt checkpoint.
Becky Malewitz/Telegram A Garden City Police Department officer dressed as a city worker stands in a city truck Thursday night at the stoplight of Kansas Avenue and Third Street looking at cars driving west on Kansas Avenue, as part of a seat belt enforcement patrol. According to a GCPD press release, officers made 74 traffic stops, issued 68 seat belt citations and three child restraint citations.
The Kansas Department of Transportation provides a grant to law enforcement, allowing additional officers to be placed on the streets of Garden City to enforce the safety belt use and child passenger safety acts.
On Thursday night, as part of routine seat belt enforcement conducted by law enforcement, a City truck was parked in one of the westbound lanes of Kansas Avenue, where a police officer dressed as a city worker observed passing traffic to determine whether or not seat belts, and where applicable, child safety restraints were being utilized.
As the officer determined that proper restraints were not being used, he radioed patrol officers stationed a couple of blocks west of the intersection, who would then pull the offending drivers over.
On Friday, GCPD Sgt. Michael Reagle confirmed that the man dressed as a city worker was in fact, a police officer and that he was observing vehicles for proper restraints and then radioing ahead to patrol officers.
While being conducted Thursday, the method used by the GCPD prompted mixed reaction from residents. One resident, who lives near the Third and Kansas intersection, called in a tip about it to The Telegram. While she wouldn't share her name, she said she was outraged by the tactic.
Derek Releford, Garden City, said that he and some friends drove by the spot where the city truck was parked, and eventually parked nearby to watch what was going on.
"We drove by it three times and, at first, I thought it was someone getting pulled over and then I saw the utility truck and I thought that was kind of weird, and then we drove back and I noticed the guy didn't have a utility belt and there was no ladder and he was just kind of standing there. And then the third time I drove by, I noticed he was staring into vehicles pretty hard-core, staring right into vehicles, and then every once in awhile, he would talk into his wrist, like a CIA agent or something. So I was just like, 'that's weird.' It was just kind of weird seeing that. I don't remember the police ever doing anything like that. Maybe I just wasn't paying attention but it seemed like a new tactic," Releford said, adding that he questioned the legality of the tactic.
Reagle said that the method is, in fact, legal.
"With the grant-funded campaign, we are asked to use a variety of methods to enforce the safety belt laws," he said.
Releford said he thought that parking the city truck on a busy street like Kansas Avenue was unsafe.
"To me, it could be potentially dangerous because I noticed the flashing lights 10 blocks away and you know, it's dark and it's busy out and I spent a lot of time looking at those lights instead of looking at the road, so if there wasn't any problem with the electricity or anything, there really shouldn't be a big eye sore in the middle of the road that's going to cause a bunch of rubber-necking and could potentially cause accidents," he said.
Despite his disagreement with the GCPD's tactic, Releford said he is very much for seat belt usage.
"I got in an accident when I was 16 with a friend of mine. I was in the passenger seat, I wasn't wearing a seat belt and it resulted in minor plastic surgery on my face and I could have died, so I usually always put my seat belt on unless I just completely forget it, but for the most part, I do think that everyone should be wearing their seat belts," he said. "Even though I don't agree with the way the police went about it, I do applaud it. I applaud the GCPD because I thought it was very cunning, if that's the right word. I liked their style, I guess."
Deb Fief, Garden City, said that she didn't see anything wrong with the tactic. She said that she too, was in a traffic accident in which she was severely injured.
"The thing is, I've been in a car accident in a head on and I wasn't wearing my seat belt and I suffered blunt force trauma and permanent injury to my hip and other injuries that affected my life. And the thing is that whether it's a law or not, it's just smart to wear your seat belt," Fief said. "My theory on the whole thing is, if you're following the law you don't have anything to worry about."
According to a press release from the GCPD, as a result of the program, officers made 74 traffic stops, issued 68 seat belt citations and three child restraint citations.
In addition to the safety restraint citations, officers cited and released two individuals for no proof of insurance and made six arrests for charges including no valid driver's license, driving while suspended, interference with a law enforcement officer, no proof of insurance and municipal warrants.
Found 25 comment(s)!
I can see why they are doing it. My husband would have died a few years ago in an accident had he not been wearing his seat belt. He hit a deer on hwy 50 and flipped our vehicle into the field several times. He was the only person in the vehicle and walked away with only bruises and some minor whip lash. The officer on the scene was sure he had a death on his hands when he drove up on it. Officers are trying to save your life not make life difficult for you.
Posted by: Sees the GCPD Point on 2/22/2013
GCPD Checkpoint Raises Eyebrows
Dear 'Just Saying',
GCPD got the violators AND the Menards vandals. Seems like they have their priorities balanced.
Remember, it isn't the officers violating the law. It is the violators who are guilty.
Posted by: Watching on 2/20/2013
The PD uses fedral grants instead of using overtime money that everyone claims is "OUR TAX MONEY" they shouldn't be using, plus they can't use the officers that are already working because they need them for the streets on calls that come in as it is. Really "Observer", are you that naive? I receomend you do a ride along with officers on a Friday or Saturday night between 7pm and 4am and see how busy they get! It might be an eye opener for ya!
Posted by: Dexter M on 2/17/2013
Yes Dexter, I am going to criticize a kid in Jr. High for grammar. At that age he ought to be able to compose a sentence. And no, tickets are $10...I just got one a couple of months ago, so I know how much they are.
Posted by: GC Advocate on 2/16/2013
Since when does the GCPD need a Federal DOT Grant to enforce seat belt ordinances? I am going to venture a guess and say never!
Posted by: Observer on 2/14/2013
Response to some of you....
I don't know if anyone READ the article but it did say "
The Kansas Department of Transportation provides a grant to law enforcement, allowing additional officers to be placed on the streets of Garden City to enforce the safety belt use and child passenger safety acts."
And good for you for those who DO wear you seatbelt! You don't break the law, you don't have to pay for it. Oh and by the way, Police Officers also ENFORCE Laws. Its in thier job description. You should check it out sometime Grace!
Oh and tickes are $5 not $10.
WOW, GC Advocate, really? You are going to criticize a kid in Jr High for spelling and grammar? Wow you cool!
Posted by: Dexter M on 2/14/2013
Seat Belt Sting Operation
Glad that they got the grant but be honest about setting up the check point. To setup a sting operation for no seat belts...really? To protect and to serve is the motto, not to pretend and to ticket. SAD!
Posted by: Grace Juarez on 2/14/2013
the next operation be for people texting while driving, yapping on cell phones while driving or stuffing their faces while driving. I wear my seat belt BECAUSE of these people
Posted by: dag on 2/12/2013
Stay is school Cody...
Cody, you need to take the sentence you wrote to your English teacher and have him/her explain to you all the things that are wrong with it. Please stay in school bud!
Posted by: GC Advocate on 2/12/2013
It is what it is.
GCPD has put up with so much grief over the past several years from the so called "I pay your taxes and shame on you for writing me a ticket" citizens. Be thankful for the honest, hard working men and women of the GCPD who have nothing more than YOUR safety in mind. The officers don't get a cut from each ticket written. The moral of the story is wear your seatbelt, obey the laws and thank these guys/gals for the thankless job they do each and every day. Someday, the life they save may be yours. Keep up the good work GCPD.
Posted by: BG on 2/12/2013
It's the law
It's a seat belt, they come in every vehicle and they certainly aren't for appearance. The law applies whether a police officer is in view or not. They are for our own safety. That should be all that matters.
Posted by: Student on 2/11/2013
Good job for the Garden City police that is good for them there doing there job Cody Z. KH rules
Posted by: cody zeigler on 2/11/2013
Nothing to worry about
Since I always wear my seat belt for my own protection, I don't have to worry about getting caught not wearing it. It doesn't matter to me if our police department thought outside of the box to keep us safe.
Posted by: Retiredchief on 2/11/2013
This is outrageous. Deliberately putting a truck in an intersection that could potentially cause a wreck and hurt/kill the people they are trying to "protect". What a joke. Put the guy in a parking lot. Sit him up on a telephone pole. ANYWHERE but in the middle of the street.
Posted by: Citizen on 2/11/2013
Way to go GCPD
Way to go GCPD.. What ever it takes to do your job.
The only people complaining are the ones that break the laws.
I wear my seatbelt but incorrectly, it cuts into my neck, if and when I get caught it will be my own fault, to bad for me.
Posted by: Feeling safe in GC. on 2/11/2013
For only $10
$10 !!!! That's how much the GCPD gets per seatbelt violation. That's it. All this time and effort spent on giving people $10 tickets. So that means the GCPD spent all these man hours and gave up the public's trust because they acted deceitfully, for only $680. Way to go...
Posted by: GC Advocate on 2/11/2013
So, a GC City truck, not an emergency vehicle, was used to obstruct traffic and facilitate the observance of a minor traffic violation by non-uniformed officers. The non-uniformed officers then used their 007 wrist Secret-Service radio to call ahead to other officers the failure to use seatbelts by these marauding, egregious violators.
And meanwhile, Menards is saying to themselves: “Now we understand where their priorities lay!”
Nice use of manpower!
And yes, I always wear my seatbelt.
Posted by: just saying on 2/10/2013
Great work GCPD! Too often I get sick of listening to degenerates refer to police officers as "pigs"...but then, when they, themselves, are faces with an emergency...who do they call? It ain't ghostbusters! It's the police! The use of the term "pigs" goes to show just how idiotic people are...grow up! If you break the law, you MUST pay!
Posted by: D on 2/10/2013
Smart plan beats stupid drivers
Cops come up with a smart way to enforce laws and potentially save lives and those who got stopped get mad. I for one find it a great tactic to enforce code without stepping on people's toes. Those who break the law will always find a way to complain about officers doing their jobs. Those that obey the law commend the officers for doing their job.
Posted by: Finney Co citizen on 2/10/2013
GCPD seat belt checkpoint raises eyebrows
It used to be that traffic laws were enforced for safety reasons, now it seems to be for how much money and court costs they can bring in to the system. Maybe they are also working for the auto insurance companies so their rates can be increased.
Seems to me that they were creating a hazardous condition.
Why don't they release statistics on how many people are killed because they were wearing seat belts.
I had an aunt involved in an accident where a truck hit her broadside and pushed her over into the passenger seat. The officer informed her that she was sure lucky that she didn't have her seat belt fastened or she would have been killed. I had a friend that was killed on the K156 and US50 & US183 Junction before the overpass was created because he had his seat belt fastened.
Posted by: Joe on 2/10/2013
Get them seat belt violators. Don't worry about the gangs, drug dealers or thieves. I think the the use of tax payer money to set up a seat belt sting is the best use of our recources. The use of seat belts might be the smart thing to do but I for one am tired of "Big Brother" telling me what to do, America is no longer the land of free choice.
Posted by: MM on 2/10/2013
gcpd seat belt check point
we have laws, we have the police to enforce these laws, do we have to go the big brother is watching, police state talking into your wrist way?
Posted by: Jaime Gonzalez on 2/10/2013
No one is going to be happy
What it comes down to is: some people are going to think this is a great idea, even innovative. Others are going to think it's deceitful and wrong. My guess would be that the majority who fall in the latter category are the ones who don't usually wear their seatbelts.
If you don't want a ticket for driving without a seatbelt, then wear your seatbelt. If you don't agree with the law, don't blame the ones who enforce it. Buck up (or in this case buckle up) and set a good example for others.
No one wants to hear that their loved one might still be alive if they had only worn their seatbelt.
Posted by: GC Citizen and taxpayer on 2/10/2013
gcpd's chicken way they give people tickets..
the fraternal order of police aren't getting any donations to they have to use whatever method they can come up with. next time gc be wary of what they conjure up next time.
Posted by: Candy Cain on 2/10/2013
good, good, good. good that the police are being creative. good that the police are enforcing the law. good that the citizens who think they stepped out of bounds are speaking up. i don't. but.... everything about this is good.
Posted by: james McAllaster on 2/9/2013