Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Think Twice before Running That Red Light

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Think Twice before Running That Red Light

Article excerpt

Byline: Karen Brune Mathis, Times-Union senior business writer

Speeders and red-light runners: You're on notice.

Sheriff John Rutherford said yesterday that his force will resume "Operation You Never Know."

That means officers in unmarked cars will patrol roads and intersections to catch lawbreakers. He didn't say when and he didn't say where.

Rutherford started his police career as a patrolman in 1974 and he took office on July 1. He met yesterday with the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee.

After the meeting, Rutherford said that the more he drives around town in an unmarked car, the more traffic infractions he sees. Not long ago, he witnessed three drivers racing and weaving down Interstate 95. He flipped on his blue light and siren and ended up putting one of the drivers in jail.

Rutherford said that intersection enforcement focuses on three elements. First, the sheriff's office looks at engineering problems that might lead to red- and yellow-light running. Second, the office attempts to educate the public. Third, the officers enforce the law.

During one week at an intersection with a high accident frequency, officers wrote 300 warnings. Then the citations started.

A ticketed man complained to Rutherford, only to be told that hundreds of warnings had just been issued. The man replied that he knew that. He had received one.

So if you figure you can get away with speeding or sliding through that light, reconsider for the sake of safety.

"We are definitely going to focus on those areas," the sheriff said.

CITI START: When financial giant Citicorp bought 78 acres from Jacksonville-based Flagler Development Co. two weeks ago, Citi said it would start construction in late October or early November.

On target, the city approved a permit last week for Citigroup to clear land for its proposed $93 million Citi Center complex at 13390 Durbin Blvd. …

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