A federally funded program that allows law enforcement officers to work additional hours will not be in use in Starke County this year.
Operation Pull Over is designed to target areas that are considered problematic by enforcing traffic laws and seatbelt violations more aggressively. The Knox City Police Department oversaw the program’s operation last year in conjunction with the Starke County Sheriff’s Department.
Police Chief Clint Norem says if the hours and money allocated through the program cannot be expended, it rolls into the next enforcement blitz period.
“If you don’t have the personnel to work it, by the end of the year, you’re running into: you haven’t used the funds for that program, and then you have to turn that money back in which creates administrative issues and it also can affect the following year,” says Norem..
Starke County has participated in Operation Pull Over in the past, but did not apply for grant funds this year. Among the reasons stricter enforcement may not be in place is the lack of officers planning to participate.
Norem says the program acts like a second job, meaning it’s difficult for officers to balance work with other responsibilities.
“Another issue is the way that the payment had to be handled,” says Norem. “Sometimes the officers would be starting the next O.P.O. (Operation Pull Over) project and the payment either hadn’t been received from the state or the paying agency.”
Knox Police say they recognize the program has certain advantages.
Marshall County recently announced it would be participating in the program throughout the month of March. Pulaski County did not respond to messages requesting comment.