Police: school zone incidents warrant extra caution

Published 8:02 pm Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Yellow flashing lights can be seen from various roads warning drivers that school is either ending or beginning. Nicholasville Police will now be present for much of the before and after school hustle and bustle due to some drivers not following the lights warning  them to slow down and the directions of safety officers. 

“Ultimatel, we just want people to pay more attentiaon and be safer in school zones,” said Officer Kevin Grimes with the Nicholasville Police Department. 

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Within the first day of officers being present during the early morning school hours, four stops were made and two citations were written for speeding in the school zone. Grimes said in the past few weeks there have been four or five incidents and close calls due to drivers refusing to slow down or stop where they are directed to do so. 

A safety officer was clipped by a passing car’s sideview mirror while directing traffic at East Jessamine Middle School on Tuesday, Feb. 16, because the car was trying to go around the officer to avoid stopping. 

A few months prior to that, another safety officer was hit in front of Warner Elementary School. The officer who was hit is recovering and the driver who hit him has since been arrested. 

Though Grimes said he is unsure of the exact reasoning behind the officers being struck, he attributes many of the incidents to people simply not paying attention. 

“I think a lot of it has to do with drivers being distracted,” Grimes said. 

These two instances are the only reports of safety officers being hit in Jessamine County this year. And though Grimes said close calls and near misses are not new to officers, they seem to be occurring more often. 

“It seems this year there have been more instances of it,” he said. 

Disregarding a traffic officer’s safety signal is a Class A misdemeanor that carries a penalty of up to a year in prison. 

As of Wednesday, Nicholasville Police will be focusing on traffic enforcement in school zones during morning and afternoon. 

“We’re just going to try to continue to enforce it as much as we can,” Grimes said. “Just keep everybody safe.”