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.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month

Distracted driving is a growing problem throughout the country. "Distraction" is a specific type of inattention that occurs when drivers divert their attention from the driving task to focus on some other activity instead. Here are just a few examples of items in our vehicles that can distract our attention away from the road; cell phones, stereos/CD players, MP3 players, satellite radio and GPS devices.

According to the National Safety Council, eighty percent of American drivers believe hands-free devices are safer than using a handheld phone, but that is not the case. Multiple studies have shown that hands-free devices are no safer than talking on a cell phone in your hand. When talking on a cell phone, drivers can miss seeing up to half of what's around them, such as traffic lights, stops signs and pedestrians.

Here in Overland Park, our mission is to make the streets and highways safer for the thousands of motorists who travel on them each day.  We have always taken an aggressive approach to educate motorists of the importance of distraction-free driving through education and enforcement.  

Let's all continue to do our part in ensuring everyone's safety while travelling on the roadways, whether in Overland Park or driving across the great state of Kansas.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Officer Hawes Assists Teen Task Force With Underage Alcohol Inititive

Last night, Officer Hawes with our Community Policing Unit, assisted the Teen Task Force (through The Regional Prevention Center of Johnson County) with their "Hang Tag" campaign to decrease alcohol sales to minors at liquor retailers in Overland Park. 

The goal of the Teen Task Force is to keep alcohol out of the hands of minors. Members of the task force visited five area liquor retailers last night to hang informational tags on bottles of alcohol inside the businesses. 

See the full press release and photos below for more information.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Flooding Awareness

With the possibility for excessive rain in the area today and through the month of April, flooding will be a major concern as rivers and streams begin to overflow their banks.

Each year more deaths occur due to flooding than from any other weather related events. Careless or unsuspecting motorists who try to drive through flooded roads cause many of these deaths.

Flash floods usually result from intense storms dropping large amounts of rain within a brief period. Flash floods occur with little or no warning and can reach full peak in only a few minutes. They can occur within a few minutes or hours of excessive rainfall.

Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling. Two feet of rushing water can sweep away most vehicles including SUV’s and pick-ups.

Here are just a few ways to avoid these types of situations:

Flooded roads could have significant damage that is hidden by floodwaters. NEVER drive through floodwaters or on flooded roads.

Barricades are put up in areas that are known to flood. Do not drive around the barricades.

Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers. When it’s raining, make sure you drive with extra care since flooding hazards sometimes can’t be seen until it is too late.

Pay attention to the weather radio and television reports in order to help protect yourself.

If floodwaters rise around a car, abandoned it and move to higher ground if it can be done safely.

Even if the water appears shallow enough to cross, don't try it.