SPOKANE – Lincoln Heights Elementary school zone crossing guard Robert Samaniego says he has already dodged several collisions at the intersection of Freya and 22nd Ave. while wearing his fluorescent vest.
“We’ve got signals up and down the street that notify that it’s a 20-mile-an-hour zone, so they should slow down,” Samaniego said. “That’s all we’re asking is, a little bit of patience.”
Spokane Police Department traffic unit sergeant Tony Meyer said there are simply not enough police officers to patrol every school zone on every morning. Meyer said police rely on crossing guards, like Samaniego, to be their “eyes and ears” for dangerous drivers.
Crossing guards frequently jot down vehicle descriptions and license plate numbers to report speeders to police. Spokane police consistently follow up with those drivers by sending letters to the address where the car is registered. Meyer said, so far, nearly all of those reported speeders learn from their mistake and do not become repeat offenders in school zones.
But police, crossing guards, and school staff like Lincoln Heights Elementary Principal Nancy Lopez-Williams say, this isn’t about issuing tickets – it’s about safety.
“Our fear would be that something would happen,” Lopez-Williams said. “That a child would be hurt of a staff member would be hurt and that’s too late.”