Updated: Apr 20
PLEASANTON – The City of Pleasanton on Monday, April 11, announced it will propose annexation of approximately two additional miles of the U.S. Highway 69 corridor into the city limits in an effort to prevent the city from being a stopping point for vehicles carrying illegal drugs.
According to City Administrator Teresa Whitaker, the city currently has the portion of U.S. 69 from 1000 Road to 1100 Road of the northbound lanes and from 1200 Road to 1100 Road in the southbound lane, or approximately two miles.
Under the proposal, it would increase that from 850 Road to 1350 Road, a stretch that would cover every entrance to the city along U.S. 69. Annexation would not make the city responsible for any highway maintenance, Whitaker said.
She also made clear that the purpose of the annexation would not be to raise revenue.
According to a document prepared for review by the council, in 2021 the Pleasanton Police Department handled 80 drug cases, 10 times as many as in 2016 when there were eight. So far this year as of April 11, there have been 29 drug cases and half of those have come off U.S. 69.
Whitaker said that the new Casey’s was completed in late 2016. In 2017 the number of drug cases in the city climbed to 21.
She said that 30 percent of the city’s drug cases were coming into the city via U.S. 69. By patrolling that stretch of the highway, both Whitaker and Police Chief Tristan Snyder believed it would be a deterrent to drugs entering the city.
“Honestly, I don’t know what the answer is, but these statistics are pretty alarming,” Whitaker said.
Snyder pointed out that Osawatomie currently patrols a eight-mile section of U.S. Highway 169, which includes entrances to the city from the Osawatomie State Hospital exit south to Kansas Highway 7.
Mayor Mike Frisbie asked about the Kansas Highway Patrol presence on U.S. 69, but Snyder pointed out that two KHP troopers covered as much as four counties.
Snyder said that U.S. 69’s link between Mexico and Canada and its link to the east and west on Interstate Highway 70 made eastern Kansas a huge corridor for any kind of drug trafficking.
Councilman Aaron Portmann said he was concerned that taking on more highway would leave the patrols in the city short on manpower.
Snyder said the department wouldn’t patrol it every day, and he anticipated that it would mainly be patrolled on the weekend. Even then, he said the department would patrol the highway for no more than four hours a day. And there would always been a policeman patrolling the city, he added.
Whitaker said she also envisioned having city police officers certified to do inspections on tractor-trailers.
Frisbie also suggested the officers should get additional training as well.
There was no action taken on the proposal on Monday. Whitaker said she just wanted to open the lines of communication with the council and asked them to consider the proposal.