ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y. -- Ramapo Police officers spent the day Thursday working in plainclothes for pedestrian safety and ended up handing out 20 summonses, mostly to pedestrians.
The department began their pedestrian safety effort at least a year before four pedestrians were mowed down by a man passing on the shoulder of Route 52 in Monsey. One of the four, a three-month-old infant later died.
For the past year and half the department has been focusing on pedestrian safety through a program funded by the state and several other agencies. In addition to road details, they also reach out through the Adopt-A-Cop program for school children that teaches pedestrian safety and by presenting an education program to civic associations and residents.
Since the beginning of 2017, there have been 43 crashes in Ramapo involving pedestrians and bicyclists, said Sgt. Blaine Howell.
"We have been working as a department to educate the public in an effort to lower the number of accidents," Howell said. "At first we didn't hand out summonses, but now it has reached the point where we are."
During Thursday's "zero tolerance" detail, the officers concentrated on areas that have large numbers of pedestrians. In all 20 summonses and 12 warnings were handed out with 19 of the summonses issued to pedestrians and one to a motorist, Howell said.
The warnings were given to violators under the age of 16.
"In no way are we blaming this on pedestrians," Howell said. "A lot of factors play into the safety issues, but on Thursday we wanted to concentrate on pedestrians who were not obeying the lights and crosswalks for their own safety and education."
Residents can expect additional details in the future as the department continues their education and safety efforts.