SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Wearing reflective vests and carrying a hand-held stop sign, crossing guards are a key component to the safety plans for children walking to and from school.
In Santa Barbara, there are openings the city needs to fill right away. Of the 15 intersections, Santa Barbra Police Sgt. Bryan Jensen says five positions are open.
Zoe Primrose was on Meigs Road Wednesday afternoon and said seeing the kids daily is a highlight for her. "They are delightful, all just delightful," she said.
The students she sees walk to Washington Elementary School starting about 7:45 each morning.
"They light up. Some of them say they feel like they are a hero in the neighborhood taking care of people, making sure that they are safe," said Jensen.
Distracted drivers come through daily, even when a crossing guard is present, making the position even more vital while children are nearby.
"I always thought that once there was a sign people would stop but some do not," said Primrose." So the (crosswalk) lights go off and then I put up my sign and I look to see if they see (me) and then I step out. You have to be somewhat confident."
Each crossing guard goes through a background check and gets training. After that police say it's amazing how they take a specific pride in the location they are assigned.
"And the crossing guard is really there for the motorist that for whatever reason might not see the kids, or the kids might not follow the appropriate safety rules before entering the street. So there's judgment and decision making that's required to be a good crossing guard."
Without the crossing guards in place, patrol officers may have to cover the shifts.
More information on the crossing guard position can be found online at the City of Santa Barbara's website here.