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Home News-Telegram News Number of police citations issued in 2008 decreases

Number of police citations issued in 2008 decreases

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Sulphur Springs police wrote almost 900 fewer traffic tickets in 2008 than the previous year, according to data in a report presented to City Council members Tuesday.

The "Annual Report Regarding Traffic Stops and Action Taken," presented by Sulphur Springs Chief of Police Jim Bayuk Tuesday evening, showed officers also made 465 fewer traffic stops last year than in 2007.

The report lists 7,326 stops in 2008, compared to 7,791 the previous year.

Of those stops in 2008, there were 4,080 citations issued, an average of 11.2 per day. In 2007, police wrote 4,966 citations, or an average of 13.6 each day.

Bayuk told council members a number of factors can explain a decrease in traffic tickets being written.

"It's a combination of calls for service, how many officers we have working, people being sick, people off at training," he said. "They write quite a few written warnings, which allow people a second chance."

On the other hand, Bayuk added, some officers write quite a few tickets.

"Out of the 20 officers I had in patrol that write tickets, you've got some that really write a lot, some that don't write as much," he said.

The weather can play a factor, too.

"The graph kind of goes up and down depending on the weather," Bayuk added. "If it rains, they don't make as many traffic stops. If it's cold, traffic stops kind of go down."

On Tuesday, for example, skies were fair and temperatures were in the 60s.

"At 5 p.m., they were standing at about 20 tickets already," he said.

Traffic citations do generate revenue, but Bayuk, like his predecessor Donnie Lewis, has long maintained the true purpose of citations is to deter motor vehicle crashes on public roads.

"My main thing on traffic is that we seem to average about 40 accidents a month in this town," he said. "Most of it [is due to] failure to yield right of way, or driver attention, following too closely."

The area between Tractor Supply Company on South Broadway Street and the location where Gilmer Street and Oak Avenue split is the most

likely place for a motor vehicle crash, Bayuk added.

"We're kind of stepping up and trying to enforce more of the laws in that area," Bayuk said.

"So you're saying no officer has a set quota?" asked Councilman Freddie Taylor.

"No sir, no sir, nobody has a set quota," Bayuk said. "We do encourage traffic enforcement in an attempt to cut down on accidents. That's my main thing."

In fact, Bayuk said, police as a rule don't use defective equipment issues as a reason to write citations, although officers will "use that for probable cause for a stop."

"You know, we do not write tickets for a taillight being out or no front license plate," he said. "But the moving violations, the seat belts, the children not being restrained, the running the red lights, fail to yield right of way, the speeding through school zones [will result in citations]."




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