Six years of arresting drug dealers didn’t bring much recognition for police officer Mike Cox.

But he’s being recognized now for his work on ridding the city of inoperable vehicles.

Some people scream at him and ask him, “Don’t you have anything better to do?”

But neighborhood groups thank him for addressing vehicles left on streets and alleys on the west side of the city, north to Winter Avenue.

From Jan. 1 to March 30, Cox tagged 539 junk vehicles.

Of those, six were towed, and he issued three city ordinance violations.

Cox received a certificate from the city for his work in cleaning up neighborhoods at last month’s neighborhood association workshop.

A tow truck is featured on the certificate that states: “When it comes to junk, Mike’s the best.”

Cox isn’t the only officer to tag vehicles in his or her patrol area of the city. But with the mild win-ter weather, he took more of an initiative to address the problem.

Officers put a tag on a vehicle, for example, if it has missing body parts and flat tires, hasn’t been moved in a long time or doesn’t have a valid license plate sticker.

Those whose vehicles are tagged have seven days to take care of a vehicle before it gets towed.

Even putting it in a garage is fine, Cox said.

The female owner of a vehicle towed last week in the 1400 block of Walnut Street gave the city permission to tow it. It had a flat front tire and expired plates. She also didn’t have the vehicle’s title.

The city can tow a vehicle on the street, but must get permission to tow one on private property.

“Usually, people take care of them,” Cox said. “A small percentage is not going to be fixed.”

In the Morin addition, one home had 11 tagged vehicles, all of which were moved. Another home had five vehicles towed.

It’s a beautification issue, he said.

Youths can break the windows out of the inoperable vehicles and make them even bigger eyesores, he said.

Deputy Director of Police Bob Richard said the first of the year is slower for calls for police service and it’s easy to tell when a vehicle doesn’t have proper registration because the license plate sticker is the wrong color.

“He tries really hard to work with the people,” Richard said about Cox.

Cox’s recognition is not to diminish the work other officers do, said Danville Neighborhood Services Coordinator Jerry Wright.

“We’ve had great support from the police department,” he said.

Wright said just as blue jeans get dirty, the city does, too, and it’s time to clean up streets and alleys.

He said some vehicle owners intend to fix a vehicle, but a month can turn into a year as the vehicle sits in a yard.

“(The vehicle owners) don’t think about the community aspect,” Wright said.

And junk vehicles contribute to a neighborhood’s decline.

“(Cox is) going out and trying to make a difference in neighborhood revitalization,” Wright said.

Trending Video