By Ted Schnell • BocaJump | Saturday, April 7, 2012
Elgin police Cmdr. Glenn Theriault said Friday the toughest part of the process of evaluating the city's school crossings has been cutting back the crossing guards, who he praised as a group of very dedicated, conscientious people.
Many are senior citizens who have relied on the $11.80 an hour income, which also makes it hard.
He said cutbacks have been made by seniority, but no one has been asked to leave. Rather, he said, they’ve been asked to be on call, so that they can be called in to help with special events such as the Fox Trot or the Fourth of July parade, instead of relying on police officers to direct traffic, which is more costly. He added two declined to stay on as on-call guards.
“These are all incredibly dedicated people,” Theriault said. “Some of them have been crossing for multiple generations. … You’ve got guards that know every single child’s name, every parent’s name.“You’ve got guards that cross these kids their entire grade school career. You’ve got guards that come early every day and shovel in the middle of winter — shovel every crosswalk,” he said. “You have got a lot of very dedicated employees here, and it is very difficult to make a decision like this.”