In Feb. 17 IssueBy Kim GrahamTimes Journal Reporter
Russell Springs City Council members, at their regularly scheduled meeting, were introduced to a new public outreach effort by Russell Springs Police Department (RSPD) through programs and a new Facebook business page.
"In response to the grant that we received about a year ago, we've gotten an officer trained and through the academy," said Police Chief Joseph M. Irvin. "In our obligation of that grant we've started new programs and activities with more interaction with the public."
Irvin said Officer Chasity Shirley is conducting activities and created a Facebook page for RSPD on January 10, 2011.
"To me, I always like giving encouragement to people," Shirley said. "I get famous quotes from people…to help inspire people, to help them keep their head up."
She said they have started posting maps and graphs showing automobile collision information for 2010 and 2011 monthly statistics in Russell Springs.
"A lot of our wrecks are occurring mostly between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.," said Shirley. "We're giving people an idea during these times to watch what they're doing and pay attention."
Council members asked about many of the accidents happening around the time school lets out and wondered if newly licensed drivers were at fault.
"That is the time but when we looked at some of the reports, you're getting a lot of older people," said Shirley. "So we don't think it's necessarily all kids that are having wrecks, it's just that major congestion through there at that time."
Shirley also said it is important to be alert while in parking lots because many of the collisions occur there.
Of the 267 accidents worked in 2010 by Russell Springs Police Department, 78 occurred in parking lots, particularly North Ridge Shopping center, and several others occurred in a localized area on Hwy 80.
"The most compounded problem we have is between Bottoms Rd. and the dollar store there on Hwy 80," said Chief Irvin. "We have the most accidents that occur in that area…I wish we could do more."
Traffic congestion on that stretch of Hwy 80 and the many different angles of roadways with people cutting in different directions make it a prime area for collisions he said.
"We're going to try to increase traffic law enforcement there," said Irvin.
In the first month since the page's creation, RSPD's Facebook page has had more than 1,600 post views Shirley said.
Police officers said they hope the page will be an informative, educational tool for the community.
Council members complimented road work during recent winter weather events.
"I'd like to commend the road crew of the city during the snow and bad weather and also the county and the state," said Councilman Eric Selby. "All of them have done a very good job."
Mayor DeHart said everyone has worked hard to keep the roads in as good shape as they possibly can.
In other business:
• In a unanimous vote, the council approved a full page color advertisement inside the front cover of the Star Theater's 2011 season program at a cost of $500.
• City Clerk Wendy Burton presented the 2nd reading of Ordinance 2011-01 adopting Eric Selby as Mayor Pro-tem. The 1st reading was heard January 13, 2011.
• Resolution 2011-01 to apply through LCADD for a $36,752 grant and matching it with a $37,920 in kind contribution for the city to add bathrooms and a new picnic shelter at the city park was unanimously passed by the council.
• Clarissa Hart reported Lake Cumberland Area Development District (LCADD) is hosting a city council orientation at 4:30 p.m. February 24th at their office in Russell Springs to give an overview of services LCADD offers.