The Wichita Police Department is adding a motorcycle unit to help improve traffic safety.
Wichita City Council approved a grant request at its meeting on Tuesday.
The Kansas Department of Transportation says among the state’s largest cities, Wichita had one of the highest rates of traffic crashes and accidents that resulted in deaths.
So the agency has offered a grant of $300,000 to the Wichita Police Department.
Deputy Chief Gavin Seiler says the grant will pay for eight police motorcycles and related equipment.
"Putting these tools to work in our community will work to enhance our efforts to keep citizens safe. Our expected outcomes of these would be to reduce the number of accidents, reduce the number of traffic fatalities and have an increased presence at high accident locations," Seiler says.
Seiler says motorcycles can maneuver through traffic quicker than cars, and they’re able to get within construction zones to watch for traffic violations.
Wichita Police disbanded its motorcycle unit in 2001 to expand coordination with beat officers, enhance cross-utilization and improve neighborhood responsiveness.
Seiler says the department is in the process of reorganizing its traffic bureau.
Since 2004, KDOT’s data indicates the average number of traffic fatalities in Wichita per 100,000 residents has exceeded the rate of the previous 12 year period (from 1992 to 2003). At the same time, the rate of fatalities in the United States has decreased approximately 25% from the 2004 level.
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