published Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Lifesaver campaign kicks off in Bradley County

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    Bradley County Sheriff Jim Ruth announces new traffic safety initiatives.
    Photo by Randall Higgins.
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CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Bradley County Sheriff Jim Ruth on Tuesday unveiled a high-visibility traffic enforcement campaign for the coming holidays and into 2012.

Ruth announced the start of Campaign Lifesaver and said motorists can expect more traffic stops. Many of those will come with a warning citation and a Lifesavers candy, he said.

Since 2002 Bradley has had 143 traffic fatalities, the sheriff said, a number that is too high for the community.

"We are launching Campaign Lifesaver to reduce that number," Ruth said. "We are going to treat it like an election campaign. In a campaign you have to make people aware of who you are and what you stand for and have a strategy to carry out your goals.

"Our No. 1 goal is to make the community aware of traffic fatalities," Ruth said.

The campaign will not cost taxpayers extra money, and any overtime should be covered by grants, he said.

"We will be targeting areas that statistically show there are more crashes and more violations," Capt. W.G. Campbell said. "The goal is not to write tickets but to save lives. However, we will write you a ticket if one is deserved. During that two-week time frame we are not saying we won't write you a ticket at all."

Ruth and Campbell, both veteran officers, said the most dreaded assignment in law enforcement is notifying a family of a death.

"I have never been one who likes to write tickets," Ruth said. "I know these high-dollar tickets hurt when somebody has to pay out. But I hate even more getting a text or a call that someone has been killed. That's why we are doing this."

about Randall Higgins...

Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...

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