The Sheriff's office Traffic Safety Unit (TSU) is a cooperative effort between the Sheriff, the Missouri Department of transportation (MoDot), and the National Highway Safety Administration. The goal of the unit is to decrease the number of injury and fatal traffic crashes on Jackson County's roadways.
In pursuit of this goal, the Traffic Safety Unit engages in aggressive enforcement of traffic laws with special attention to hazardous moving violations and impaired driving. The unit also engages the public through educational efforts, and multi-jurisdictional projects involving many partners.
The unit's primary mission is DWI enforcement which is targeted to those areas of Jackson County where alcohol-related traffic crashes are prevalent. The Traffic Safety Unit is a county wide and the patrols encompass the entire county. Sobriety Checkpoint and Saturation Patrols are conducted frequently, often in cooperation with municipal agencies as part of the Jackson County Traffic Safety task Force.
The Traffic Safety unit joins with the Kansas City Police Department in a special partnership to assist with multiple Sobriety Checkpoint projects in Kansas City on a regular basis.
Jackson County covers 607 square miles and contains over 500 miles of roadways. There were 38,406 traffic accidents in 2007 resulting in 15,332 injuries plus 119 fatalities. Alcohol was involved in 21.1% of those accidents.
DWI enforcement is especially important in Jackson County, as we have consistently led the state in fatal alcohol-related crashes. The Traffic Safety Unit was formed in 2006 with grant funding, from State and Federal sources, to address the alcohol-related crash problem in Jackson County. The officers in the unit are specifically tasked for traffic enforcement. The patrol vehicles used are specifically marked "TRAFFIC UNIT" and "DWI ENFORCEMENT."
Jackson County Alcohol and Drug Involved Fatality Traffic Crashes (from Missouri State Highway Patrol Statistical Analysis Center)
The sergeant and four deputies assigned to the Traffic Safety unit are highly trained in DWI enforcement, and use the latest methods and technology. Portable breath testing equipment is installed in four of the five Traffic unit patrol vehicles, allowing breath testing to take place roadside instead of requiring a visit to a station. This allows the deputies to more efficiently work a wide geographical area.
The unit has an excellent working relationship with the Jackson County Prosecutor's Office and has begun "NO REFUSAL" enforcement with their cooperation. When deputies make and arrest for driving while intoxicated, and the driver refuses to submit to breath test, the deputies can then seek a search warrant for a blood draw. Using a newly created electronic search warrant process, deputies are able to obtain these warrants in less than an hour where probable cause exists.
Aggressive driving and speed violations are also a leading cause of injury and fatal traffic crashes. You may see deputies from the Sheriff's Office TSU conducting speed and hazardous moving violation enforcement on Jackson County roadways; some methods include RADAR, LIDAR, and occasional air-based enforcement.
If you represent a service group, school group, or other organization that is interested in having a member of the Traffic Safety Unit make a presentation to your group regarding traffic safety in Jackson County, please contact the supervisor of the unit, Sergeant Danny F. Barnes.