CRESTVIEW — As they waited on the street next to Bob Sikes Elementary School for certification testing Monday morning, the city’s newest batch of school crossing guards, most of whom are school zone veterans, shared stories with new guards about their experiences.

Universally, the biggest irritants are clueless drivers who speed through their school zones.

Crestview’s six crossing guards (there’s an opening for a seventh) now receive pay to protect students in four school zones. Until March of this year, guards were volunteers and were all members of the Crestview Citizens Police Academy Alumni group.

Guards protect the East Redstone Avenue residential crossing near Shoal River Middle and Riverside Elementary schools, the Antioch Road crossing near Antioch Elementary School, the State Road 85 crossing at Crestview High School (which also accommodates students walking to Davidson Middle School), and the S.R. 85 Northwood Arts and Science Academy crossing near Ace Hardware.

"This is a real nice job for someone like me who’s retired," said crossing guard Bruce Dwyer.

Community Services Officer Sam Kimmons, who, with his partner Officer Wanda Hulion, rotates among crossings and helps direct traffic, particularly on heavily-traveled Antioch Road, shared his guards’ frustration with inattentive and reckless drivers.

"When that crossing guard holds up that red ‘stop’ sign, drivers are required to stop," he said. "I would encourage drivers to pay attention, slow down in school zones and stop for the crossing guard."

As each of the six guards went through their certification testing, their fellow guards played the roles of often unruly students, smart-mouthing, pushing each other and running when they should be walking.

But come Monday morning, what was fun and games during testing becomes the serious business of protecting Crestview’s students when they cross the street to school.

SPEEDING THROUGH SCHOOL ZONES

The 2019-20 school year begins Monday morning and school zones will be active. Speeding through a school zone carries severe punishments. Current penalties are:

0-9 mph over speed limit: $153

10-14 mph over limit: $303

15-19 mph over limit: $403

20-29 mph over limit: $453

30 mph or more over limit: $603 plus court appearance

Citations for school zone infractions also impact a driver’s insurance rates and garner points against speeders’ licenses.

(Source: Crestview Police Department)

WANT TO BE A CROSSING GUARD?

Paid Crestview Police crossing guards protect students during school openings in the morning and afternoon dismissals. To apply, visit www.cityofcrestview.org, click on the "Employment" button, download and complete the employment application. Contact Major Andrew Schneider at the Crestview Police Department, 850-682-3544, for more information.