More officers killed by traffic accidents than by firearms - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

More officers killed by traffic accidents than by firearms

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Police Officer Melanie Rodriguez Police Officer Melanie Rodriguez
Chief Robert Jennings, Sylvester Police Department Chief Robert Jennings, Sylvester Police Department
The teen driver struck Rodriguez as he was coming out of the school's parking lot The teen driver struck Rodriguez as he was coming out of the school's parking lot
WORTH CO., GA (WALB) -

Law enforcers are urging you to be cautious when you see them directing traffic or making a traffic stop. A Sylvester police officer was out of work today after being struck yesterday.

More officers are killed by traffic accidents than by firearms. Police say directing traffic and patrolling the roads can be a dangerous job, and they need your help to keep them safe.  

Police officer Melanie Rodriguez was directing school traffic yesterday afternoon at Worth County High school when she was struck by a pickup truck driven by a student. Sylvester Police say traffic accidents have taken the lives of too many police officers around the nation.  

"So this is why we have laws like the move over law that requires a citizen to move over when they got police officers stopped beside the road," said Chief Robert Jennings.    

Officers have several ways they try to make sure drivers see them.  They wear reflective vests at night, set up orange barricades for roadblocks and use lights and sirens.  

"At night we might put out flares and stuff like that where we can be easily seen," said Jennings.    

They say drivers should slow down when they see warning signs, children in the area, or congested traffic.    

Law enforcement officers say drivers should always be aware of their surroundings, but that they should especially slow down near school zones.  

"When school is letting out, be sure to especially slow down near school zones not only for the safety of the officers but mainly for the safety of the kids out there," said Jennings.    

Troopers believe the teen driver was fiddling with the radio as he pulled onto Highway 313 when he struck Rodriguez. Officers say you should limit all distractions when driving.  

"Anything can be a distraction to you, eating in the car while your driving can be a distraction," said Jennings.    

Jennings says if you do have any sort of accident, stop and call 9-1-1 immediately.  

17-year-old Frederick Johnson is charged with distracted driving, driving on a learner's permit and failure to obey an officer directing traffic. Officer Rodriguez was released from Phoebe Putney Hospital last night and is home recovering from her injuries.

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