After a crossing guard wasn't on duty when a young boy was hit by a car at the intersection of W. 65th Street and Detroit Avenue, Cleveland police said they're hiring a crossing guard for the intersection, but the chief says the guards shouldn't be their responsibility anymore.
There's no law requiring crossing guards in Ohio, but officials said cities do it anyway because it helps keep children and adults safe. Nearly all of the cities News 5 spoke with say crossing guards are employees of the city or police department and are overseen by the police.
Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams floated the idea of potentially giving responsibility for Cleveland's more than 300 crossing guards to the Cleveland Metropolitan School District because, he says, the two officers who oversee crossing guards aren't enough, and he doesn't have the manpower to give them any help.
"You have a process that involves the City of Cleveland, Division of Police, CMSD [Cleveland Metropolitan School District] when we're the only ones accountable ultimately for it, but we don't control the entire process," Chief Williams told the City Council.
Chief Williams says instead of the two people who oversee the program now, he needs five or six times as many.
"10 or 12 police officers or civilians, or we give it to the school board where it should lie," said Chief Williams.
Only North Ridgeville School District tells News 5 they've employed their own crossing guards since 1997. Nearly all the other cities we spoke to run their programs through the police department, like Cleveland, currently does.
- crossing guards are city employees
- overseen/assigned by the police department
- Crossing guards are city employees are assigned by the district. They're actively hiring right now.
- Crossing guards are overseen by the police department.
- Crossing guards are city employees, managed by the community group.
- They are assigned with the help of yearly traffic studies at the end of the school year.
- The district employs their own crossing guards since 1997.
- City hires 130 crossing guards and are overseen by the police department.
- Over 300 guards that are overseen by the police department and hired by the city. They are assigned through community groups with the schools.
"Historically, it's just been that way ever since I can remember and before me," said Akron Police Sergeant Tony Mineard, who oversees Akron's 130-guard program. Sgt. Mineard says the police department has worked with the crossing guards for as long as he can remember.
Fairview Park Police Lieutenant Paul Shepard oversees that city's 15 crossing guards, which costs about $60,000-$70,000 to maintain. He says when budgets are tight, he can understand why another department might want to give someone else the responsibility, especially with a program as large as Cleveland's.
"It's a hot potato because who wants to absorb that much money," Lt. Shepard asked.
The Cleveland Metropolitan School District told News 5: "The responsibility for hiring school crossing guards for city streets has always rested with the City's Bureau of Community Policing, and schools are not staffed for this."
Councilman Matt zone suggested that the police department, city and school district get together to start discussing potential changes to how crossing guards are overseen. So far, Councilman Zone says those discussions have not started because the budget process was wrapping up.
This comes after Cleveland tells News 5 they are hiring an additional crossing guard for the intersection at West 65th Street and Detroit Avenue after a young boy was hit while crossing the street by a car that left the scene.
You can see that story here.