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BCSO honored for traffic safety
AAA Kansas presents plaque to department
new_deh_county commission sheriff award pic.jpg
The Barton County Sheriff’s Office was recognized Monday morning by the County Commission for earning the AAA Kansas Community Traffic Safety Bronze Award. Pictured left to right are Shawn Steward from AAA Kansas, Al Ackerman from the Kansas Department of Transportation, Sheriff Brian Bellendir and Lt. Stephen Billinger.

The Barton County Sheriff’s Office was one of 41 Kansas law enforcement agencies to earn AAA Kansas Community Traffic Safety Awards. The announcement was made in February, and the County Commission took time Monday morning to honor the department for the accomplishment.

“This award is presented by AAA to encourage communities to address local traffic safety issues in a coordinated and cost-effective way,” said Shawn Steward, public affairs manager for AAA Kansas. “I’m pleased to report that the sheriff’s office earned a bronze award for their effectiveness and efforts addressing local traffic safety issues this past year.”

The Barton County Sheriff’s Office is one of only 11 sheriff’s departments in Kansas that qualified for a 2018 AAA award, he said. This marked the first such award for the BCSO.

Steward appreciated BCSO Lt. Stephen Billinger for completing the award application. This came after Al Ackerman, law enforcement liaison with the Kansas Department of Transportation, identified deserving law enforcement agencies and urged them to apply.

“We first want to salute each of you, as county commissioners, for the leadership and support you provide the Barton County Sheriff’s Office to do this kind of work for your citizens,” Steward said.

“We’re pretty proud of our sheriff’s department already,” said Commissioner Don Davis. “This just puts them another notch up.”

“And finally, it’s a great pleasure to present Sheriff Brian Bellendir and the entire Barton County Sheriff’s Office team with their Bronze AAA Kansas Community Traffic Safety award,” Steward said. “Congratulations!” 

However, Bellendir said most of the credit goes to Lt. Billinger as he is the one who handles scheduling and coordinating activities.

Agencies are scored and recognized for their efforts in multiple categories, including education, emergency medical response, enforcement and engineering. The office is being recognized for a variety of activities including:

• Enforcing a policy requiring all department employees to wear a seat belt.

• Conducting Click It or Ticket seat-belt enforcement and “You Drink, You Drive, You Lose DUI” enforcement campaigns.

• Presenting AAA’s Driver Improvement program of defensive driving classes to members of the community and to every driver’s ed student enrolled and Great Bend High School.

The awards have been presented annually since 2011 by AAA Kansas to community law enforcement agencies for their efforts to successfully and cost-effectively improve local traffic safety.  

“Our police departments and sheriff’s offices in Kansas do an excellent job in keeping motorists, cyclists and pedestrians safe in their communities,” Steward said. “We salute these 41 law enforcement partners for their commitment, hard work and, in many cases, creative community engagement, in delivering effective and successful traffic safety programs.”

The winning law enforcement agencies were be recognized by AAA Kansas with award plaques in their communities.

Barton County Commission meeting at a glance:

Here is a quick look at what the Barton County Commission did Monday morning:

• Heard about the Barton County Sheriff’s Office AAA Kansas Community Traffic Safety Bronze Award.

• Approved Sunflower Diversified Services’ early childhood intervention funding.

The program provides individualized services to children ages birth to 3 with a developmental delay or disability. Sunflower’s professional staff serves the child in the home setting, thus including the family in the educational process, said Sunflower Executive Director Jon Prescott. 

In the 2019 Barton County Operating Budget, the program was funded at $15,000. 

• Heard an update on the 2019 tax sale filing from County Treasurer Jim Jordan.

On May 2, the 2019 tax sale petition was filed with the Clerk of the District Court. Subsequent to the filing, the County will send each party to the sale a summons, a copy of the petition and the corresponding limited certificate of title by certified mail. To avoid having a property sold at auction, taxpayers must pay all taxes and a redemption fee of $186.

Currently, there are 142 parcels on the list to be sold.

• Approved an agreement between Barton and Pawnee counties for road repairs near Pawnee Rock.

In late 2018, the commission approved a design agreement with Kirkham Michael of Ellsworth for two low-water crossings on the blacktop road west of Pawnee Rock. County Engineer Barry McManaman presented the agreement that calls for Barton and Pawnee counties to split the construction costs equally and delegates responsibilities for each county. 

• Approved the contract for High Risk Rural Roads as submitted by the Kansas Department of Transportation. McManaman said the Engineer’s Office will do the inspection work for this signing project on various major collector routes in Barton County. Under the agreement, KDOT will reimburse the county for 100 percent of inspection costs up to $39,336. 

AAA Kansas Community Traffic Safety Award for 2018

Andover Police Department – Platinum

Arkansas City Police Department – Platinum

Barton County Sheriff’s Office – Bronze

Bonner Springs Police Department – Platinum

Brown County Sheriff’s Office – Platinum

Caney Police Department – Platinum

Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office – Platinum

Cloud County Sheriff’s Office – Gold

Coffeyville Police Department – Silver

Dodge City Police Department – Platinum

El Dorado Police Department – Platinum

Fort Scott Police Department – Platinum

Franklin County Sheriff’s Office – Bronze

Gardner Police Department – Silver

Hays Police Department – Platinum

Hiawatha Police Department – Platinum

Horton Police Department – Platinum

Johnson County Sheriff’s Office – Bronze

Kansas City Kansas Police Department – Gold

Leawood Police Department – Platinum

Lenexa Police Department – Platinum

Linn County Sheriff’s Office – Silver

Lyon County Sheriff’s Office – Platinum

McPherson Police Department – Silver

Miami County Sheriff’s Office – Gold

Mission Police Department – Platinum

Olathe Police Department – Gold

Osawatomie Police Department – Platinum

Overland Park Police Department – Gold

Parsons Police Department – Platinum

Pittsburg Police Department – Platinum

Roeland Park Police Department – Platinum

Salina Police Department – Platinum

Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office – Silver

Seneca Police Department – Platinum

Shawnee Police Department – Gold

Spring Hill Police Department – Platinum

Wellsville Police Department – Silver

Westwood Police Department – Platinum

Wichita Police Department – Gold

Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Office – Gold

Six Kansas law enforcement agencies have earned a AAA Kansas Community Traffic Safety Award in each of the eight years the awards have been given: Andover Police Department, Arkansas City Police Department, Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, Olathe Police Department, Pittsburg Police Department and Shawnee Police Department.