Nassau County police have been used as crossing guards to help children cross streets and babysit intersections where drivers who refuse to obey speed limits, traffic lights and human decency. There has been a crossing guard “shortage” for quite some time, so rather than raise the hourly wage of Crossing Guards from $18/hr to a more fair wage for a stressful job where you are responsible for making sure children are not maimed or killed trying to get to school, the County is paying police officers who make 6-figured salaries to do the job- and their union is not happy about it.
This week the NCPD and County Legislators discussed raising the hourly rate for crossing guards to attract more candidates, relieving police from the position so they can go fight crime. Last week James McDermott, president of the Nassau Police Benevolent Association, blasted the NCPD for removing police officers from patrol duty to work as school crossing guards. There have been situations with delayed police response because officers were being used as crossing guards, leaving a dangerous staffing level. In May, the union filed a grievance against the county because the practice violates the contract provision over minimum staffing. Nassau County Police Commissioner Ryder acknowledged the problem but said the police were needed to fill crossing guard vacancies.
Why so many vacancies? Crossing guards were once full time, reduced to part time to save on health insurance costs.
And what about returning school zone speed cameras?