LPD’s Rogers issues 604 seatbelt tickets in one year
Drivers who come in contact with Laurel police officer Kenny Rogers better be strapped — to their seats, that is.
Rogers wrote a total of 604 seatbelt citations last year — more than triple the number of the top tier of honorees at the state Buckle For Life Awards at Howard Technology Solutions in July. Officers at the luncheon earned recognition for making the 50-100 Club, the 100-plus Club and the 200-plus Club.
But Rogers is in a “club of one” when it comes to municipal police departments, LPD Chief Tommy Cox said.
“I recently told a civic club that there are three reasons I wear my seatbelt — for safety, because it’s the law and because Kenny Rogers will write me a ticket,” Cox said.
Rogers didn’t get honored because his information wasn’t submitted before the awards luncheon.
“He should have gotten recognized, but he didn’t, and that’s on me,” said Cox, who took over as chief in March after the untimely death of Tyrone Stewart. “It’s my fault.”
Rogers was quick to say that he wasn’t mad about that. Issuing the tickets and teaching people about the safety of seatbelts is its own reward, the longtime LPD officer said.
“People get mad about it,” he said. Rogers recalled seeing a man who admitted that he was angry after getting a ticket, then the next week, the man was involved in a crash.
“He flipped his pickup,” Rogers said. “He told me he would have died if he hadn’t been wearing his seatbelt. He said he was sorry for being angry because getting that ticket saved his life.”
Stories like that make the complaints about enforcement worth it, he said.
“Kenny does a great job,” Cox said. “He’s a workhorse.”
Officers with more than 200 seatbelt citations were the elite honorees at the awards ceremony. Deputy Lance Williams led the Jones County Sheriff’s Department with 408 citations. The winner of the Seat Belt Champion Award, for the most citations in the state in 2018, was Craig Bishop of Troop F (based in New Albany) with 1,139 tickets. The awards were presented by Troop F and the Mississippi Association of Chiefs of Police.