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Police vigilant about pedestrian, vehicle traffic near school zones

Posted: August 24, 2011 - 7:22pm
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Juneau Police Department officer Blaine Hatch monitors traffic near Juneau-Douglas High School on Wednesday morning. JPD reminds the public morning commuters and students to be aware of increased vehicle and pedestrian traffic in and around school zones as the new school year begins.   Klas Stolpe / Juneau Empire
Klas Stolpe / Juneau Empire
Juneau Police Department officer Blaine Hatch monitors traffic near Juneau-Douglas High School on Wednesday morning. JPD reminds the public morning commuters and students to be aware of increased vehicle and pedestrian traffic in and around school zones as the new school year begins.

Blaine is like any other typical first day of school student. Up early, dressed to the nines and sitting prompt and ready in his chair for class.

Except that Juneau Police Department officer Blaine Hatch’s class seat is behind the wheel of his patrol car and his first day, and week, of school involves making sure the thousands of students from kindergarten through high school can arrive and leave safely from their appointed places of education.

“We do the same typical thing as far as enforcement in school zones,” Hatch said. “Including driving issues and walking around the perimeter looking for people who should not be there. Sometimes we will catch high school kids who go out there and harass and taunt the younger kids.”

JPD wants the public to be aware of the increased vehicle and pedestrian traffic in and around school zones. They suggest morning commuters should leave extra time to get to work.

The police will enforce the reduced speed limits in school zones. Motorists who pass school buses with flashing red lights will also be ticketed.

Pedestrians are reminded to cross roads only at crosswalks and to make sure cars are yielding prior to entering the roadway. Pedestrians are encouraged to make sure they are visible by wearing bright clothing, walking in groups, and using flags that are staged at some crosswalks.

Parents are reminded to inform children about safety issues concerning the walk or bus ride to school. Officers suggest that parents specifically talk to their kids about avoiding horseplay near roads or at bus stops, pedestrian safety, and bicycle safety.

Hatch stated the high schools required more vigilance due to their increased population and older kids who make different choices that aren’t always the healthiest.

“We try to do enforcement when ever we can,” Hatch said. “It doesn’t matter when school starts, ends, or during the day, whatever, we try to do as much as we can.”

• Contact reporter Klas Stolpe at 523-2263 or at klas.stolpe@juneauempire.com.

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