Monday, May 18, 2015

Click It or Ticket Enforcement Campaign Begins Today

The Overland Park, Kansas Police Department will be conducting a Memorial Day “Click It or Ticket” S.T.E.P. Campaign from May 18th through the end of the month.

This task is being conducted with the principle focus on Child Seat Restraints and Seat belt enforcement. Officers will aggressively enforce Kansas occupant restraints and other traffic laws as part of the 2015 Kansas Click It or Ticket traffic enforcement Campaign. This activity is supported by a grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT).

Drivers on the roadways of Overland Park can expect strict enforcement of Safety Belt Use and Child Passenger Safety violations.

Children under the age of four must be secured in an approved child safety seat; children ages four through seven who are under 80 pounds and under 4’9” tall must be securely belted into an approved booster seat; and children ages eight through 13 must be secured in a safety belt.

Officers working this campaign will also be strictly enforcing speeding and DUI violations. During last year’s campaign, officers stopped a total of 960 vehicles and issued 1278 citations. 926 of that total accounted for some type of seat belt or child seat restraint citation.

Buckling up your seat belt has been proven to be the single most effective way to reduce the risk of injury or death in motor vehicle crashes. Most people who die in collisions are not wearing a safety belt.

 
 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Be Wary of Door-to-Door Solicitors

Spring is here and summer is just around the corner, and it's the perfect time to remind our  residents to be very cautious regarding their dealings with door-to-door solicitors, especially those selling magazine subscriptions.

The warm months ahead will continue to make Overland Park an opportunistic location for solicitors to sell their wares or perhaps peddle their scams.

While there are many reputable companies doing business door-to-door in our city, there are still some unscrupulous ones who try to trick or coerce residents into buying things they don’t need or want. A lot of times residents will reluctantly pay for items that they never receive or the items they get are of poor quality.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) receives numerous complaints each year regarding door-to-door solicitors, so many that in fact that they have put them into their list of top ten scams. The most common complaint the BBB receives involves consumers paying for magazines they never receive. Several consumers allege the sales representative also misled them by claiming to work for a local school or charity fundraiser.


If visited by a door-to-door sales representative, the BBB recommends consumers do the following:

Be safe. Ask for identification before you open the door. Never invite the solicitor into your home.

Be wary of high pressure sales tactics. A trustworthy company should let you take time to think about the purchase and compare prices before buying or putting down a deposit.

Research the company with BBB. Visit www.bbb.orgto view the company’s BBB Business Review to find out more about their marketplace performance. If you have a smart phone, you can download and use the BBB app to access the company’s report while the person is standing at your door, or visit m.bbb.org on your mobile device.

Get transaction details in writing. Be sure you receive a contract or receipt explaining the details of your purchase and all the terms and conditions that apply.
Remember the “Three-Day Cooling-Off Rule.” The Federal Trade Commission’s Three-Day Cooling-Off Rule gives consumers three days to cancel purchases of more than $25 that are made in their home or at a location that is not the seller’s permanent place of business. Along with a receipt, the salesperson should always provide a cancellation form that can be sent to the company to cancel the purchase within three days. By law, the company must give consumers a refund within 10 days of receiving the cancellation notice.

Listen carefully and be aware of high pressure sales tactics. Some unscrupulous door-to-door sellers will put pressure on you to close the deal at that moment. Listen to their tone. Are they increasing in volume as they speak to you? Are they ignoring you despite saying you are not interested? Find a way to end the conversation quickly to avoid long, drawn-out sales pitches.

Stand strong. Do not invite unsolicited salespeople into your home. If you do allow a salesperson inside and decide during the presentation that you are not interested in making a purchase, simply ask him or her to leave. If the salesperson refuses to leave, threaten to call the police, and follow through if they don’t leave immediately.

Victims of fraudulent door-to-door sales can file a complaint with their Better Business Bureau at 
www.bbb.org , local law enforcement, or state Attorney General’s office.

Contractors soliciting business door to door in residential neighborhoods are governed under the provisions of Overland Park Municipal Code Chapter 5.64. The ordinance can be found on the internet at 
http://www.opkansas.org/Doc/564-Solicitors.pdf

Here are a few of the specific regulations for Overland Park:

- If you post a “No Solicitors” or “No Trespassers” sign, they can’t attempt to contact you for the purpose of soliciting.

- They can’t attempt contact prior to 10:00 a.m. or after 9:00 p.m. local time, on any day.

- If you ask them to leave the premises, they must do so immediately.

- They can’t make more than one solicitation call to the same premises for any similar goods or contributions within any consecutive fourteen (14) day period.

- If requested, they must provide you with a written receipt for any purchase exceeding $5.00 cash.

- They must truthfully disclose the details of what they are selling or soliciting and they cannot misrepresent the purpose of their call.

No solicitor notices or signs must be posted at the front entrance of your home for the ordinance to be enforced. No soliciting stickers may be purchased at City Hall located at 8500 Santa Fe. Persons ignoring such signs or acting suspicious may be reported to the police department at (913) 895-6300, or if the need for police presence is immediate, by calling 9-1-1.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

Motorcycles are small so it can be easy for one to slip into the blind spot of a vehicle.  It can also be difficult for some to judge a motorcycle’s speed or distance.  In regards to distance, motorcycles have nearly the same stopping distances as cars, but on slippery pavement it becomes difficult to stop quickly.  If you think it’s a bad idea to tailgate another vehicle, just think of how bad an idea it is to tailgate a motorcycle.

In 2014, the Overland Park Police Department investigated 52 crashes involving motorcycles, and of those, 37 were classified as injury accidents. There were also three traffic-related fatalities in 2014, with two of those deaths involving the driver of a motorcycle.

The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has some tips for motorists and motorcyclists.

For Motorists:

Look For Motorcyclists - Use your eyes and mirrors to see what's around and check the blind spots when you're changing lanes or turning at intersections. Look, and look again.

Focus on Driving - Hang up the phone, put down the MP3 player, settle the passengers, and drive.

Use Your Turn Signals - Signal your intentions for everyone's safety.

Give Two-Wheelers Some Room - Don't tailgate or pass too closely.

Take Your Time - Nothing is as important as the safety of your loved ones, yourself, and the others with whom you share the road

For Motorcyclists:

Be visible – They remind motorcyclists that motorists often have trouble seeing motorcycles so make sure your headlight works, use reflective strips or decals on your clothing, be aware of blind spots, and flash your break light when slowing or stopping.  They also suggest using your horn if a motorist doesn’t see you.

Dress for safety – Wear a quality helmet and eye protection, wearing bright colored clothing and a light colored helmet. Protect your body with leather or other thick protective clothing. Choose long sleeves, long pants, over-the-ankle boots and gloves.  The Motorcycle Safety Foundation specifically points out that the only thing between you and the road is your protective gear.

Apply effective mental strategies and know your bike and how to use it – Constantly scan and search the road for changing conditions and give yourself and others space and time to respond. Use lane positioning to be seen, signal in advance, don’t ride tired or impaired, get formal training, take refresher courses and practice. Lastly, know how to handle your bike in conditions such as wet or sandy roads, high winds and uneven surfaces.

For more motorcycle safety information visit the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's website at http://www.msf-usa.org/

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Traffic Officer Steve Beger Retires After 35 Years

This past Friday we held a retirement reception for Officer Steve Beger in honor of his retirement with the department after 35 years of faithful service.

You'll notice we said "reception" as opposed to saying "ceremony" because a reception was all Steve wanted, and true to his nature, he wasn't very comfortable doing that either. You see, Steve is a man of action and of very few words. The last thing he wanted to do was have some formal ceremony where people get dressed up and talk about him for an extended period of time.

The reception on Friday, as uncomfortable as it made Steve feel, gave his friends and co-workers an opportunity to say one last goodbye to him before he heads out to enjoy retired life . It's safe to say Steve has been a stalwart around this department for a long time and has a lot of friends who wanted to wish him well.

Please join us as we congratulate Steve on all of his accomplishments and his retirement from the Overland Park Police Department. 



Friday, May 1, 2015

Creating Partnerships

Overland Park Police teamed up with the 1st Infantry Division at Fort Riley in support of the Soldier for Life program. OPPD hosted Army personnel who served as interns for two weeks. The Soldier for Life program was created to assist soldiers in the transition back to civilian life. It offers training and skill sets to assist soldiers in networking and securing careers, once their military commitment is complete.

As a result of our work with the Soldier for Life program, OPPD was nominated and received the Helping Hands Award at Fort Riley on April 28, 2015. The partnership was beneficial to the police department as well as the Army Interns.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Groundbreaking Ceremony For New Public Safety Facility

This morning, the City of Overland Park broke ground on a joint public safety facility that will house both police and fire personnel.

Many calls for emergency service require a joint response from police and fire, which means coordination and sharing of resources. The new police and fire station is a reflection of that valuable and necessary partnership.

The new building will be located just south of the intersection of W. 159th and Antioch and across the street from Blue Valley West High School. It will replace the current fire station at 159th Street and Metcalf. By relocating to the new site and combining with the upcoming interchange at 159th and US-69, it  provides a more strategic location to respond to emergencies in the area.

This project is truly a partnership that extends far beyond City Departments of Fire, Police, IT, Parks and Public Works.  It encompasses everyone associated with the project--all to produce a quality facility to better serve the Citizens of Overland Park to maintain the high quality of Public Safety we expect in our great community.  We don’t have the opportunity to build these types of facilities often and look forward to the completion of this project.

The fire side will have capacity for 12 fire/EMS full-time staff members in conjunction with four double-deep, drive through apparatus bays, living quarters, office, kitchen and more.

The police side will have  enough space for 30 officers and civilian staff members, room for patrol briefings, armory, special apparatus and more.

Over the past four years, Overland Park’s population has grown by more than 10,000 new residents, and businesses. It’s safe to say much of that growth has taken place south of 151st Street, and much more will in the years and decades to come.

Overland Park receives national recognition for its level of fire and police service, which is among the best in the nation.

Residents have resoundingly stated public safety is one of the top priorities for city leaders and this new facility is a reflection that goal.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Top Ten Contributing Factors for Motor Vehicle Crashes in 2014

Continuing on from our post yesterday on the subject of Distracted Driving, we wanted to share with you the factors that were listed by officers during their investigation into each of the 4, 325 crashes last year.

In 2014, 4325 crashes occurred in the City of Overland Park. An analysis of the accident reports revealed the following top ten contributing factors:

1. Inattention - 1036
 
2. Following to Close - 678

3. Fail to Yield Right of Way - 614

4. Too Fast for Conditions - 307

5. Improper Lane Change - 220

6. Red Light Running - 213

7. Under the Influence - 167
 
8. Distracted Driver - 103

9. Improper Backing - 98


10. Improper Turn -  96

Although the Distracted Driver is #9 on the list, it goes hand-in-hand with #1 on the list - Inattentive Driving. It's not always easy for the officer to prove exactly why the driver was at fault, nor are people so willing to admit to their miscues.