The Eagle annually obtains a full list of the traffic citations issued from the city of Wichita for the prior year.
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Traffic tickets on the decline
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The number of traffic cases is declining in Sedgwick County. In 2011, there were more than 26,000 cases, but in 2016, there were fewer than 20,000 cases.
One reason for this, according to District Attorney Marc Bennett, is that police agencies “are spending so much time answering calls that the time to make traffic stops is down.”
This appears to be true across the state. The agency that certifies law enforcement officers receives its funding from municipal court fees. But the number of cases where court fees have been collected have fallen every year since 2011, from about 270,000 to about 210,000. Because of the decrease in court fees, the licensing agency had to increase the amount of its fee to stay afloat.
“I think many agencies may be less focused on traffic enforcement and more on gang enforcement and have reassigned” officers, said Gary Steed, the agency director.
The Eagle reported that the number of overall citations (including all traffic tickets and parking tickets) declined from about 93,00 to 85,000 from 2014 to 2015. This has continued to decline to about 75,000 in 2016.
In 2016, the number of speeding tickets in Wichita declined from the first half of the year to the second half of the year. A spokeswoman for the department, Sgt. Nikki Woodrow, said there hadn’t been any decreased emphasis on traffic enforcement.
“Traffic safety is a high priority throughout the year,” she said.