Wednesday, June 13, 2001

Speeders: Do you recognize this face?

He may have issued your last ticket

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — If you've been pulled over for speeding through the “cut in the hill” on Interstate 75 in Northern Kentucky, you might have had the honor of meeting Kentucky's Officer of the Year.

        Spc. George Russell, 47, a Covington native who has worked 25 years on the city's police force, received the Kentucky Peace Officers' Association award Tuesday night in Fort Mitchell.

        Called one of the commonwealth's top traffic enforcement officers, Spc. Russell issued 107 traffic citations last week alone. He patrols traffic in trouble areas — including I-75, I-275 and the bridges.

        His job is underwritten by a National Highway Safety Administration grant funded by the federal gas tax.

        “Even when I give people tickets, I use some tact about it and try not to cost them an arm and a leg,” he said. “I try to treat them like I would want to be treated. They are still people, too.”

        He regularly conducts safety campaigns targeting speeding, drunken driving and the use of seat belts and car seats by going into schools on his own time and talking to students about being responsible drivers.

        “In an attempt to reach even more potential offenders, he has taken the same program into the juvenile court system in the hopes of preventing the tragedy of teen-age drunk driving,” said Covington Lt. Danny Jackson, who nominated Spc. Russell for the award.

        Spc. Russell, a 1972 graduate of Holmes High School, is married to wife Cris. They have three grown children.

        Now Spc. Russell wants to get the word out about the danger of talking on mobile phones while driving. He said mobile phones are the third-leading cause of accidents, behind speeding and drunken driving.

        Mr. Russell's three grown children all have vehicles equipped with air bags and the best tires available, he said. His oldest son, Jason, 25, is a Kenton County deputy sheriff and his youngest, Justin, 20, wants to go into law enforcement. His daughter, Carrie, 22, is a beautician.
        George Russell,
       Kentucky Officer of the Year, fights for safer roads.


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