Police officers, National Guardsmen risk their lives keeping drivers safe - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Police officers, National Guardsmen risk their lives keeping drivers safe

Not having power isn't just an inconvenience -- it's creating traffic problems.  And police are risking their own lives to keep you safe.

18th and Broadway is one of dozens of intersections without power -- that's why Metro Police and National Guardsmen are there.  But it can be a dangerous job.

Metro police officer Daran Hodges makes it look easy:  "Stop for me please," he asks, or, "Go ahead, ma'am," as he directs traffic.

But he has a pretty dangerous assignment this week.  Phil Russell, LMPD spokesman, explains, "It's very taxing on the officers that are out here.  They're directing traffic for twelve hours a day.  It's a very difficult job to do."

Hodges is one of more than 350 police officers and guardsmen directing traffic at busy intersections without lights.  Thursday morning, a guardsman was injured while directing traffic near Oxmoor Center after a motorist hit a stop sign.

Russell says the, "stop sign then struck the national guardsman.  The national guardsman then falls into an oncoming vehicle and gets sideswiped."

That's why police say now is a good time to slow it down.  Russell says, "When you're whizzing by an individual that's standing in the roadway and you're giving him only about six inches of clearance, you need to slow way down when you come through that intersection."

Right now, there are dozens of intersections without power in Metro Louisville.  Many drivers, like Renee Hunter, appreciate their effort.  "They've helped a whole lot."  And Alexis Keen says, "It's better because they're stopping people.  People are not doing it on their own so it's not as many wrecks."

One of the biggest concerns is at intersections with neither police nor power.  Motorists are told to simply treat it like a four way stop.  The problem is, not everyone is doing that."

Hunter says, "There have been wrecks right up there off 13th and 15th -- no one is stopping."

Russell explains, "That is one reason you need to slow down on main thoroughfares, particularly because you're inevitably going to come across an intersection that is without a traffic light and those will sneak up on you."

Keen says, "It makes me nervous because people are, like, swerving when they don't have the right of way."  That's why officers like Daran Hodges are working long hours covering as many intersections as possible.

The injured guardsman was taken to the hospital, but his injuries are not serious.  Meanwhile, police will continue to direct traffic at these intersections until the power is restored.

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