Local traffic cops say they don’t give tickets to annoy drivers, they do it to keep you and your family safe while driving

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- After 99 traffic deaths last year on the city's streets and highways, every traffic enforcement officer is now required to break the news to victims' families at least once.

Being part of this painful process is helping traffic cops make streets safer.

"The impact was really felt because it showed that this is the other side," said Jacob Barlow, a traffic enforcement officer. "If we don't do enforcement, if we don't do violations, then this is what can happen. We want to try to get to that before it happens."

Traffic cops often are viewed by the public as tax collectors, not life savers.

After all, no one likes to get a ticket.

But enforcement officers say witnessing the pain a family goes through after losing a loved one in a crash brings home the connection between enforcing the rules of the road and saving lives.

Nearly a hundred people died on Kansas City's roads last year, more than a 31 percent increase from 68 deaths the previous year.

Nearly all of those deaths can be blamed on drivers not obeying our laws.

After enforcing traffic laws for 21 years, Officer Giuseppe Trombino says being part of a death notification has strengthened his resolve to cracking down on dangerous driving.

"It’s engrained in my memory," Trombino said. "When I saw a mom collapse to the ground and a dad who would take care of everything suddenly be shred of every fiber of being, now when I’m up on the highway it just really solidified it. Made it like, 'Ok, this is absolutely ok. I should be doing this. I should be conducting traffic enforcement.'"

Kansas City already has had two traffic deaths so far this year, and police are urging drivers to focus on the road when they're behind the wheel.

And recognize that if you do get pulled over for speeding or not wearing a seat belt, that's a lot better than if a cop has to put a tarp over your body at a crash scene.

Enforcement officers say they want people to spread the word when they get a ticket so others will recognize that officers are at a particular location for a reason.

And if drivers know that, they're more like to slow down and pay attention.