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November 17, 2016 • Headline News
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The Ripley County EMA Advisory Council meeting will be Monday, Nov. 21 at 1 p.m. at the government annex center, commissioner’s room. The meeting is open to the public.


Retired Versailles trooper invents safety device

Mary Mattingly

A retired Versailles Post State Police officer has patented a device that can save thousands of lives from road accidents. Ken Greves, who was the public information officer for the state police from 1971-1993, has designed and patented The Safety Arrow, a reflective arrow which points the way to safety for oncoming vehicles. Within seconds it can be placed on the rear of a stopped semi, bus, police car or other vehicle so motorists have extra time to react and move over. “It’s a gift of life,” Greves told Ripley Publishing. “My goal is to have one in every car on the highway.”

Greves is not new to the patent or invention business. He was the same man who developed and patented the Stop Stick, the number one tire deflation device in the world commonly used by police and military. That was in 1992, and he made millions from it, but his mind is still turning out ideas on how to save lives. “As a police officer they give us all the safety equipment, but there was nothing to stop a fleeing car,” he said. That idea was sparked after his fellow officer, Sgt. Noel Houze, whose son Noel is the current Milan School Resource Officer, was chasing a car outside of Milan and bumped the car to stop it, causing damage the state police could be liable for as well. Greves got to thinking and creating, went to a hardware store, spent $10 to create a crude prototype of the Stop Stick, and the rest is history. Greves built it in his basement in Lawrenceburg at the time, until a Cincinnati businessman heard about the invention and offered him a lucrative deal. “It’s a true American success story,” Greves said, “I’m blessed.” Moreover, it’s another tool to keep officers and the public safe. “I believe it is a police officer’s friend.” Greves and his wife raised their kids in Lawrenceburg, but upon retirement moved to Florida. They recently relocated to Lexington, Ky. to be closer to his two children and grandchildren.

This latest invention, the Safety Arrow, came up after he saw a semi broke down on the highway out West and read about the horrific fatal accident the next day. A woman and her daughter did not see the parked semi, despite the required triangle warning cones in time, and ran into the truck. It burst into flames and both were killed. No drugs or alcohol were involved, he added. That day, he sat in the hotel room and told his wife he wished he could do something about that, if only they had more warning, and she said why not try.

While stopped semi tractors are required to put out safety cones after 10 minutes, this Safety Arrow is more visible because it’s on the rear of the truck. “The arrow is a universal sign,” he added. Upon seeing the arrow, the brain immediately sends a signal to react. And a second or two could save a life, particularly in fast moving traffic, Greves noted. He went to his patent lawyer with the idea, saying it was something very simple, but it could save lives. “He said, simple is good. The hula hoop was simple and look at its success. So we filed for the patent.” It takes from one to two years to get a patent, but if you are over age 65 you get to move ahead in the patent file, according to Greves. Greves is 75 years old. Local schools, such as Milan, Jac-Cen-Del and Batesville, now have the Safety Arrows. Madison, Scottsburg, South Dearborn and Aurora are some of the other districts who have ordered them. Over 1000 have been donated to the Indiana State Police for squad cars.

Unlike the Stop Sticks, this safety device can be used by the general public. “It’s not a question of if your vehicle might break down at some point, but when,” he said. And while roadside service is great, it can take at least 30 minutes to receive help. Data confirms 46,000 deaths per year occur on US highways, in addition to thousands of personal injury accidents.“This gives peace of mind while you wait,” he said. He’s had people buy several, for themselves, their children and grandchildren. “For $20 you put it in your trunk and forget about it, until you need it.” It folds easily for storage, but opens to 18 inches long, with two magnets to attach to the vehicle.

The device is made at Deflecto, the largest manufacturer of reflectors and based in Indianapolis. He told a friend he was playing golf with about this and he commented that if his nephew had this years ago, he would probably still be alive. His nephew and a buddy had run out of gas and were pushing the car when they were struck by another vehicle. “Once you see it and how simple it is, you say ‘wow.’” Greves said. He feels it sells itself once people see and understand the use.

At this point, Greves is a one man business. He’s not only the inventor, manufacturing liasion, but sales and marketing director as well. “I’m hoping to get it into Wal-Mart and retail shops. It would also be a great fundraiser for school groups, you know instead of candy or something,” he said. In the meantime, he has a few other patents in the works. “It’s just enough to save a life,” Greves said. For more information, he said to call him on his cell at 614-560- 4514.

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