WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita police are cracking down on drivers in school zones in an effort to keep kids safe before and after the bell.
A group of officers spent Wednesday afternoon patrolling outside of Hadley Middle School in west Wichita. They handed out educational flyers. They also talked with drivers about the city’s parking ordinances.
“Right now, we are doing education, but eventually we are going to have officers out here that are going to be citing parents or people picking up the children mostly because we are concerned about the children crossing the street, not looking for the traffic, because it does get quite congested here and it’s hard to see kids running in between the cars,” said Wichita Police Officer Lori Kimrey.
Kimrey said she has seen people park in no parking zones, double park, and even park in the middle of the street while they wait for their kids to get into the car.
“They will just stop in the middle of the street and wave their children to come and jump in the car which also causes a traffic jam because people can’t drive around them,” Kimrey said.”The last thing we want to do is come out here and work a tragic accident involving a student that is being picked up on the wrong side of the street.”
One parent told KSN on Wednesday that she has witnessed several kids almost get hit by vehicles in the school zone.
“This year already I have seen about four children almost get hit because, you know, they have the crosswalks, but parents block them,” said Tonya Moses.
Wichita police said accidents can be avoided as long as both the parents and the drivers use caution around the school.
“We are not here to pick on anybody. We just want to make sure that the kids aren’t just darting across the street in front of traffic,” Kimrey said.
Kimrey said there are options for people picking up their kids at Hadley Middle School. They can park in the south school parking lot and have their kids walk to the lot to get picked up.
“They can park in the neighborhood, the parents can walk across the street, pick up their children and safely get them across the street where they are parking,” she said.
Ultimately, police want to make sure school staff, students, and drivers are safe.
“We don’t want the kids getting hurt. We don’t want them to learn the wrong thing,” said Wichita Police Officer Darrin Williams.
Police said they witnessed at least 25 parking infractions on Wednesday afternoon. They said they plan to start citing drivers for the infractions in the next couple of weeks.