A day in the life of a HERO officer

A day in the life of a HERO officer

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ATLANTA -

They are men and women who put their lives on the line each day but you won't see a badge, instead you see a big yellow truck. They are officers of Atlanta's HERO units.

They make sure traffic is moving and help you get on your way when you're in a jam.

For these men and women their day starts off with the words "be safe, be safe," then a thorough check of the key tool of their day -- the HERO truck itself must get the green light. Once the inspection is complete, it's time to ride out.

"We create a safe environment for all responders to be able to work in, and keep traffic moving at the same time," said shift supervisor Jason Josey.

It doesn't take long before trouble is spotted -- a motorist with a flat tire.

"I hit something going down the road and about as quick as I could get pulled over, it was flat," said  Wallace Bertschin of McDonough.

The flat was fixed and then off to another emergency – an accident in the travel lanes of interstate 85 southbound at Interstate 285.

While at the scene of the accident, they're constantly keeping an eye on the moving cars.

"We love our citizens, but we don't trust them. You can't, not out here on the highway. This job is inherently dangerous and it is extremely unforgiving," said Josey.

HERO Mark Weathers says the job can be scary at times and reminded motorists to move over to give them room to work.

Two years ago on January 31, 2011, hero officer Spencer Pass Sr. was killed on the side of a highway.

The danger may always be in the back of their minds, but occasionally, they get a good laugh out of their job too.

"The oddest thing is not one, but two zebras on the interstate" Josey said.

Another odd thing was finding a refrigerator fully stocked with fresh meat.
    
Crews say accidents at one time took about 45 minutes to clean up are now being cleared in less than seven minutes. If you find yourself on the highway in need of a hero unit, you can call 511 and they can get a unit to your scene -- if nothing major is going on.

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