Budget issues leaves school crosswalks unguarded - 8 News NOW

Budget issues leaves school crosswalks unguarded

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LAS VEGAS -- Dozens of children are hit by cars every year some of them on the first few days of class.

8 News NOW has learned many school crosswalks are going unguarded this school year.

Metro Police fund a company that provides crossing guards but some safety advocates say there is just not enough money or guards.

Desert Inn Road is very busy but the middle school nearby does not get a crossing guard. In fact, no middle school in the Las Vegas area gets crossing guards.

There are about 400 crossing guards who work for a private company but are funded through Metro.

Regional manager of the crossing guard company Paul Kmetz says he would love to have someone at every elementary and middle school but Metro just doesn't have the budget.

He says right now they have at least one guard at 90 percent of the elementary schools but they don't have enough people to cover every busy corner.

“In order to open a new crossing, we have to remove someone from another crosswalk. So if there are three guards at a crossing, we may need to take that down to two and move one over to another crossing,” Kmetz said.

Henderson and North Las Vegas police departments say they are basically in the same boat as Metro, trying to have crossing guards at elementary school but none at middle schools.

Police around the valley say they will be stepping up enforcement on the first weeks of school. They will be looking to write tickets at school zones so drivers get the message.

Metro Police Captain Chris Tomaino says Metro is increasing patrols for the first few weeks of school, despite a shortage of officers.

“I can tell you at my area command I am short, as of this week, I am down 19 officers at Northwest Area Command,” Cpt. Tomaino said.

Tomaino says it is a problem in command areas across Metro's jurisdiction, but he hopes this year Metro's new policy of not responding to non-injury accidents will mean more cops in school zones year round.

“It frees up resources for us to be able to do enforcement and get in front of the problem to reduce fatalities on the road,” Tomaino said.

On Thursday, police wrote about 20 tickets at the crosswalk on Maryland Parkway near Reno Avenue.

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