By Carson Gerber
For the Pharos-Tribune
The number of traffic violations issued by Peru police has remained dramatically lower for the second year in a row compared to the amount of tickets handed out in 2010.
Police issued 3,160 tickets in 2009 and 3,245 in 2010.
In 2011, police gave out nearly 2,000 less traffic violations. The number ticked up slightly last year to 1,586.
Police Chief Steve Hoover said the central reason for the remarkable plunge in traffic tickets can be linked to three officers retiring in 2011. The department hired three new officers later that year, but Hoover said they spent considerable time in training.
“With all their training, the officers weren’t concentrating too much on writing tickets during an 8 hour shift,” he said. “This is a small department. One guy retiring affects us, but when three leave at the same time, it’s going to have a real impact.”
Hoover said police didn’t purposely start issuing less tickets. He said it was simply a byproduct of being short staffed for most of 2011, and training new officers in 2012.
“We still take moving violations very seriously, and we enforce them the best we can,” Hoover said.
But the decrease in traffic tickets took its toll on the police department budget last year.
City Council approved $25,000 from the city’s general fund in November to supplement the police department’s loss in funding normally garnered from traffic fines.
Although traffic tickets stayed low, the number of criminal arrests leapt from 396 in 2011 to 534 last year.
Hoover said that number can be attributed to having a fully staffed department in 2012, which now has three full-time detectives and one full-time narcotics officer.
Carson Gerber is a Kokomo Tribune reporter. He may be reached at 765-854-6739, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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