The Nassau County Police Department will remove a crossing guard from the post at Forest and Rocklyn avenues on April 9, according to East Rockaway School District officials.
Superintendent Lisa Ruiz said she learned about the decision last week in an email from Problem-Oriented Police Officer John Zanni. “I am writing today to inform you that the Nassau County Police Department has decided to remove a crossing in your area at this time because of man-power issues,” the email read. “If there is an increase of man-power over the years, the corner will be re-evaluated and possibly a guard will be placed there once again.”
After Ruiz expressed her concerns, Zanni sent her a follow-up email, explaining that Centre Avenue is not the only school affected by the lack of personnel, and that the position was removed due to a “lack of use.”
“We did multiple surveys throughout the precinct and this one showed to be one of the least crossings utilized,” Zanni wrote, suggesting that students cross at the intersection of Forest and Centre avenues instead. Ruiz said in an email to the Herald that she was happy that there is an alternative route for students to get to the school.
“We will monitor this area and if our parents inform us that this creates a safety concern for those who use that intersection, we will certainly be in touch with the [Fourth] Precinct to advocate for the restoration of the guard,” she wrote, adding that she is grateful for the work the Fourth Precinct does to support the school district.
Requests for further comment from the NCPD were not granted as of press time.
New York State Assemblyman Brian Curran also said he would advocate for the restoration of the position, and sent Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder a letter about the issue on March 29. “This can be a very dangerous place for our children who frequent the area, even with a crossing guard,” he wrote, citing claims of speeding vehicles that do not adhere to stop signs and motorcyclists who swerve around other vehicles. “The alleged removal of the guard will only exacerbate the problem.”
Anyone interested in becoming a crossing guard should visit the Fourth Precinct or the Nassau County Police Department website for an application. Nassau County residents who would like to request a crossing guard can call the Fourth Precinct at (516) 573-6400 and ask to speak with a problem-oriented police officer.