Police to patrol school zone

New ordinance gives borough officers jurisdiction, ability to write tickets

TYRONE — The dog is unchained.

Last month, Mayor Bill Latchford said borough police who park near the school complex on Clay Avenue at the beginning and end of the school day to deter reckless drivers were like tied-up canines — because the area is in Snyder Township, and therefore, they couldn’t write tickets.

On Monday, Borough Council voted to approve a three-party agreement that includes the township and Tyrone Area School District, giving borough officers authority to operate in the school zone area.

The vote triggered clapping by meeting attendee and former Clay Avenue crossing guard Michele Miller (not the same person as Councilwoman Michelle Miller), who has been campaigning for the agreement, following her resignation from the job after nearly being hit by a careless driver — prompting Miller to hurl her glove at the offender’s car.

The vote also led Councilman Terry Richardson to reiterate urgings he made last month that council members go en masse to a school board meeting to encourage the district to add more crossing guards and to provide the guards with radios.

“Somebody is going to get killed,” Richardson said.

There’s a school board meeting at 7 tonight, Richardson and Miller reminded attendees.

“Come and support Terry and me,” Miller said.

The adoption of the ordinance giving borough police authority to enforce speed limit and parking laws in the school zone had been delayed by township concerns about liability and arguments between the two municipalities about liability and cost.

The agreement as approved Monday entitles all three parties to “the immunities set forth in the Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act” — which speaks of “sovereign immunity,” while listing specific situations where immunity is waived and liability may apply.

One of those situations is in the operation of vehicles.

The agreement calls for the borough to insure the officers — as well as to oversee and pay them for their duties at the school complex.

The new ordinance also gives borough police jurisdiction on Hospital Drive, which runs perpendicular to Clay Avenue next to the middle school.