WAYNESBORO, Va --- The fact that Ladd Elementary sits on busy Rosser Ave. should already have people playing it safe in their morning commute, but, sometimes, as Waynesboro police say, a little influence goes a long way.
“We're not going to go out here and just write tickets to write tickets,” said Officer Andy Deshong with Waynesboro Police. “We're simply trying to favorably alter driving habits of motorists out here. We do that simply by creating a presence sometimes as well.”
Even with that presence, it did not take long for the police officer to catch someone going well over the speed limit. As a WHSV reporter found out, the start of school is not something everyone is aware of.
“He indicated to me he didn't see the lights. He obviously recognizes and acknowledges there are lights indicating the school zone is there. He was in the habit from the summer driving through the zone and simply didn't realize the lights were back on.”
This is the first time Waynesboro has made a dedicated effort towards making sure school children are safe. Recent pedestrian deaths have the officers wanting to make sure drivers are paying attention.
“It's always important to remain cognizant while driving. Part of that is obviously observing and obeying highway signs. A big part of that too is refraining from distraction devices. Cell phones are a big one right now. “
The strict crackdown may be over, but patrols will still be around when school begins and ends. The hope is that anyone that was stopped this week will remember the area next time and tell their friends the police are watching.
“It's going to always kind of resonate in the back of their mind that, 'Oh there's usually a police officer sitting here. This is a school zone. I'm going to slow down because it's 25.'”
Police gave out 28 speeding tickets during the week-long crackdown. They also issued eight tickets to people who were not wearing their seat belts.
Next week starts phase two of the Waynesboro Police Department's safety campaign. They are going to go into schools to make sure students are keeping themselves safe.
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