Overland Park police dole out $10 reminders to buckle up

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -- At the corner of one of Overland Park's most dangerous intersections, three OP police officers kept their heads on a swivel Memorial Day.

With temperatures rising -- and on the tail end of the holiday weekend -- Overland Park police said the peak of summer travel across our nation's roadways is set to begin.

"Making sure these people have seat belts before I get too far away from them," Officer Michelle Koos said as she sat in her patrol car.

The officers -- working a grant from the highway patrol -- are doling out gentle reminders.

"I'm out here working Click it or Ticket," Koos told a driver she had pulled over for not wearing a seatbelt. "I am required to write a ticket. That's the bad news. The good news is it's only $10."

Car after car, violation after violation, tickets were written.

"I know for a fact you weren't wearing your seat belt because I saw that. I don't know whether you were wearing yours, so if you weren't, this is a freebe, because I only write what I'm sure of," Koos said to the passenger of another car she pulled over within minutes of the first.

It's face time with drivers, the officers say, that could some day save a life.

Seatbelts were the focus, but they were also looking for impaired drivers.

"I don't want to work those accidents," Koos said of crashes involving DUIs or crashes where the injuries could have been prevented with a seatbelt.

Koos, along with many metro traffic officers, hope the Click it or Ticket campaign will make at least some people think twice when getting in the car.

"There's nothing wrong with having a good time, but we just want to make sure the people who are choosing to drink are making the responsible decision and not driving as well," Koos said.

The Click it or Ticket campaign started May 19 and runs through June 1. The number of citations written this year aren't in yet. Last year Overland Park officers wrote close to 1,000 tickets for people not wearing a seat belt. Ten people were arrested for DUI or drugs and 181 tickets were issued for hazzardous driving.

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