Park Slope crossing guards had better be on guard because local police are going to be checking up on their stop-sign-wielding techniques, officers announced at a meeting this week.
Neighborhood cops with the 78th Precinct will be paying visits to the neon-clad crosswalk stewards to make sure they are standing in the right spots to keep kids from getting hurt, a spokesman said.
“We’re just concerned about children’s safety in and around schools,” 78th Precinct community affairs officer Brian Laffey said.
The announcement came Tuesday at the second convening of the precinct’s new monthly traffic safety check-in. The meetings and the planned crossing guard audit are the latest in a series of measures by the cop shop that has made road safety a signature issue during the last two months, in part as a response to Mayor DeBlasio’s Vision Zero pledge to end driver killings by 2024.
As part of the latest sweep, officers will also survey what routes kids take when they walk home from school and rearrange crossing guards accordingly.
Anti-car-carnage activists in attendance did not find fault with the current work of the crosswalk monitors, but praised the plan.
“Park Slope’s crossing guards are surely dedicated to protecting the kids on their watch, but if this effort helps in positioning them more adeptly, providing them with additional tools, or otherwise making them more effective at their jobs, it’s a big step forward in the path to achieving Vision Zero,” Park Slope Street Safety Partnership founder Eric McClure said.
The police department is responsible for managing the path-minders, and a rep testified at Council hearing on Monday that 200 of the city’s 2,300 guard positions are unfilled. In order to attract well-trained guards, the part-time job’s $9.88-per-hour starting wage must increase — especially if universal pre-kindergarten brings thousands more kids to the streets, one road warrior opined.
“The city should seriously consider raising this pay scale for such an important job,” said activist Keegan Stephan of the street safety group Right of Way.