The Neosho Police Department is cracking down on speeding in school zones.

The Neosho Police Department is cracking down on speeding in school zones.

Police Chief Dave McCracken said the department is beginning an enforcement campaign in an effort to slow down traffic around Neosho schools.

"We observed some and had some citizens give us some complaints about speeding, and other traffic problems in the school zones," McCracken said. "We got to looking at it a little closer and realized that we need to give it our full attention for awhile."

The speed limit in Neosho school zones is 15 mph, and 25 mph on city streets, unless otherwise posted.

However, McCracken said after a recent focus on school zones, it was determined motorists are moving faster than allowed through the marked areas.

"We did some sample enforcement in some of the zones and found that the average speed level was too high," McCracken said.

In a recent one-week span, 18 motorists received tickets for speeding through a school zone, according to a city press release.

McCracken said the Neosho Police Department has had some concentrations in the area of Carver Elementary, on Norway Road, the Neosho Middle School, on Hale McGinty Drive, and the Neosho High School, at the Neosho Boulevard and Hill Street.

McCracken said the enforcement campaign is an example of a service made possible by the continued growth in the Neosho Police Department.

After the city's financial situation forced drastic cuts to the Neosho Police Department in 2010, the department has begun filling those empty positions, and is now up to 18 officers, with two additional positions open to hire.

"This is something that we're able to do now a lot more easily than we could've done just six months ago," McCracken said. "We've got to get the proper service to the people and to do that we need to be aware of the issues out in the community."

He said the school zone enforcement came in response to citizen complaints, and noted the importance of community members bringing problems such as the school zone traffic issues to the attention of the Neosho Police Department.
He said this particular problem is one that Neosho citizens can also help to fix, by simply slowing down and obeying traffic signs.

"The citizens of the area can work with us to solve this problem with not a lot of enforcement having to be made," he said.

As motorists can expect to see more police presence near the school zones, those speeding should also expect to potentially pay a higher fine if ticketed in the school zone.

According to a city release, by state law, traffic violations within a school zone can carry a heavier fine than those on other roadways.

McCracken said officers will handle each stop individually, and either a warning or ticket will be given as the situation calls for.

What is important, McCracken said, is keeping the school zones safe for children.

"We just want to get the word out to everybody to remember that school is in session and these zones are going to be enforced," McCracken said. "Just use caution."