Grants Pass Police monitoring school zones, keeping students safe

It's the first day of school for many students in Grants Pass. Local police officers want to make sure those students stay safe.

Posted: Sep 3, 2019 3:40 AM
Updated: Sep 3, 2019 7:21 AM

GRANTS PASS, Ore. -- This week, you'll see Grants Pass Police cars in school zones. They're making sure people are following that 20 miles per hour speed limit. 

Students start walking or biking to school at about 6:45 a.m. That lasts until about 8:30 a.m. 

Parents trust that their children will be safe on the way to school and the public needs to help make that happen, said Lieutenant Todd Moran from the Grants Pass Department of Public Safety. 

"It's all of our jobs to make sure that takes place," said Moran. "If that means getting to work a little bit later or getting that coffee a little bit later in the day, then that's the way it should be."

Speeding in a school zone or passing a bus when you're not supposed to can get you a huge fine. Those can be hundreds of dollars. 

Students who are walking or biking to school can stay safe by using designated crossing areas. Some crosswalks are special, they let you hit a button so that the sign lights up and warns cars that someone is crossing the street. Grants Pass Police officers said students should not dart between cars to cross the street.

More importantly, students should stay off their phone when they're walking, biking, driving or even waiting for the bus, said Jennings Stewart, a school resource officer.

Local police officers also want to make the first day of school special for students. They'll be at Grants Pass elementary, middle and high schools to greet students this morning. This year, the officers will be giving students pencils and erasers during the meet and greet. 

They said that these types of activities let students get to know them. This can help build trust between students and officers, according to Stewart. 

"When the students recognize us as the person there for their safety, to help them, they are more readily available to come to us about what is going on in their lives," said Stewart. "They're more willing to actually have a conversation when they actually have some sort of friendship or rapport built with us."

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