$50,000 Could Mean More Tickets

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Ada Winters has been working at the intersection of Argyle Street and North West Street as a crossing guard for the past six years. Over that time, she's had her share of close calls.

"I've had to push children out of the way before because people were going fast," Winters said.

Things could change in the month of May. The Jackson County Board of Commissioners approved $50,000 to fund a special traffic enforcement project due to a steady decline of tickets.

"What my concern is, and the concern of other chiefs in this area, is that we don't have as many officers doing traffic work anymore," said Jackson County Sheriff Dan Heyns.

"They aren't able to slow people down and get them to wear their belts. We're afraid that what we're going to see is an increase in personal injury accidents."

Less officers means less enforcement, and created a $750,000 hole in the county's budget.

"We had been seeing it gradually over three years," said Jackson County Administrator Randy Treacher. "It wasn't like it happened all at once. But when it became pronounced I said, 'we need to look into this.'"

According to Sheriff Heyns, more than 37,000 citations were issued in Jackson county in 2006. That's 21% less than in 2004. That $50,000 means at intersections like North West Avenue and Argyle Street, law enforcement could be lurking around the corner.

"If it is successful, certainly the recommendation to the board would be to continue," Treacher said. I think as long as it pays for itself, we're not looking to generate revenue...just enough to pay for itself."

Back on the street, Ada is hoping more patrolling will turn into slower speeds.

"People come off 94 or 127...they still have the mindset of going 70 miles per hour, 60 miles per hour and they come really fast through the corner," said Winters.

With law enforcement's presence, that could change.

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