LMPD upping patrols to prevent deadly accidents - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

LMPD upping patrols to prevent deadly accidents

Major Mark Fox Major Mark Fox
Officer Kevin Vantassell Officer Kevin Vantassell

By Katie Bauer - email | bio

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – Officers in the Louisville Metro Police Seventh Division cover areas from Fairdale to Okolona to Fern Creek. During 2010, 15 people died in car accidents on their watch. Now, they are taking action in hopes of saving lives.

"When you drive down the road and you see the little crosses and the little signs, until that hits home, it's just something stuck on the side of the road," said Major Mark Fox.

Those crosses are a visual reminder that has hit home for Fox. When he took over as commander of the Seventh Division in September 2010, he came in with a plan.

"It's to raise the awareness," said Fox. "It's to slow people down and put them in the mindset to operate a vehicle safely."

Just a couple of weeks ago, Fox added an additional three officers to cover everyday traffic and watch for violators in effort to keep the streets safe.

"I'm looking for compliance, not money," said Fox. "I don't want to see anybody get a traffic ticket, but by the same token, I don't want to ring that doorbell in the middle of the night and tell someone a loved one is not coming home."

Last week, one of his colleagues had to do just that after a woman lost her life on the Gene Snyder Freeway near I-65 on Feb. 9.

"Each day when I come into my office, I sit down and I look at that board," said Fox, who keeps track of statistics for the Seventh Division on a dry erase board. "Last week I went from a black zero to a red one, and that's one too many."

For Fox and his officers, it is not only about a number. It is also about stopping bad habits.

"You'll see people on the phone and messing around with something in the car," said Officer Kevin Vantassell, one of the added forces out patrolling the streets. "A lot of serious accidents are caused because of running a red light."

Even if it seems harsh at the time, seeing a police officer face to face could ultimately change a decision that could in turn save a life.

"Each one of those signs represents somebody's loved one that's not coming home," said Fox.

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