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Larned City Council approves changes to diversion policy
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Larned City Attorney Ron Smith explains the reason for proposed changes to the city’s ordinance concerning diversions for certain traffic offenses at the January city council meeting Monday night.

LARNED — Larned City Council members approved changes to the city’s policy on granting diversions to first-time offenders as part of the consent agenda at Monday’s city council meeting. 

In an email to Larned City Clerk Kara Rath, Larned City Attorney Ron Smith explained the council would need to approve a change to the city’s diversion policy as it concerns a variety of speeding and traffic infraction first-time offenses. The changes take the financial burden of jailing the person receiving the diversion for five days if they later plead guilty or are found guilty of the same charges. 

With the change of wording, these types of charges will now be dealt with at the county level. 

Pawnee County District Attorney Doug McNett expressed surprise over the agenda item. 

“From a prosecution standpoint it probably won’t change much for us because we (District Court) have been handling all criminal except petty shoplifting for 20 years,” he wrote in response to an email from the Great Bend Tribune Monday morning.

Smith was reviewing ordinances with Judge who pointed out the issue, Smith told council members. Diversions are offered only for first time offenses, and are not offered for second and subsequent tickets for reckless driving or any kind of accident that results in injury or death, he said. 

With the council’s approval, Smith will re-amend the ordinance so it reads better, he said.