Need for crossing guards in Wisconsin Rapids as school year gets closer

Officers fill in at the street corners where crossing guards are needed when the school year starts
Published: Aug. 22, 2022 at 7:26 PM CDT
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WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. (WSAW) - As families begin to prepare for the school year, the Wisconsin Rapids Police Department is trying to add more crossing guards to their team.

The police department said a crossing guard shortage could mean taking officers off the streets and having them step in. To help fill the void and keep officers on patrol, the department took to social media for help.

“The last few years we’ve been short crossing guards,” said Officer Daniel S. Pelot, the school resource officer for the Wisconsin Rapids Police Department.

The Wisconsin Rapids Police Department said it has been a struggle to hire crossing guards since 2019.

“We’re always looking for new guards because it’s a big issue. We want to get the kids to school safe,” said Pelot.

The police department only has 14 crossing guards currently working for them, but they’re hoping to hire 4 more for the position. So the department posted the need for crossing guards on their Facebook page.

“We look for someone who is good with kids. That’s the main thing, dealing with kids, parents.”

A shortage of crossing guards could lead to fewer officers on the streets.

“If we are short crossing guards, then that kind of comes down to our patrol officers. We take them off the street and they do it,” he said

The police department said they’re already experiencing shortages.

“Lately we’ve been short ourselves being on patrol. So if we get busy sometimes we can’t fill them spots which aren’t good for anybody,” said Pelot.

They said there are a few qualities that make a good crossing guard, like being able to be aware of your surroundings.

“You need to be 18 and have a valid driver’s license and we do a vision and hearing test and if you qualify we do a background as well.”

It’s an easy job with decent pay.

“We’re very flexible. We’ll take you. We have some that only work mornings. Some that can only work evenings,” said Pelot.

The police department said their priority is to get the kiddos to school safely.

“It’s a very important job. I mean we have buses and cars. Some mornings get to be pretty busy and when you have the little tykes, you know kindergarteners getting them across the road. You want to make sure they’re safe every day,” said Pelot.

If you are interested in being a crossing guard in Wisconsin Rapids, click here to apply.