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Lawndale Crosswalk Safety Operation


On July 23, 2013, deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, South Los Angeles Station/Lawndale Service Center conducted a "Crosswalk Safety Operation." The purpose of the operation was to ensure that the community is safe when crossing major streets in the City of Lawndale.

Deputies in marked black and white patrol cars and plain clothes patrol cars parked on side streets near 164th Street and Hawthorne Boulevard, in the City of Lawndale. One undercover deputy and one Sheriff's Department volunteer crossed a marked crosswalk/intersection as any citizen from the community would. California law requires approaching vehicles to stop for pedestrians crossing the intersection. The undercover deputy would wait until traffic appeared to be clear, then he would start to cross the intersection. The most common violation that took place was when a vehicle in the first lane would stop for the pedestrian so the pedestrian would start to cross the intersection, then another vehicle in the next lane would fail to stop for the pedestrian. The undercover deputy would have to immediately stop walking so he would not be hit by the passing vehicle. This is how some pedestrians are struck by passing vehicles. When the motorist did not stop for the pedestrian, a black and white patrol car would conduct a traffic stop and warn or issue a citation to the motorist.

During the operation, a citizen uninvolved in the "Crosswalk Safety Operation" approached the crosswalk on foot pushing a baby in a stroller. She waited at the curb until it appeared safe to cross. A vehicle stopped for her and she entered the crosswalk. As she passed the stopped vehicle in the middle of the street, a second vehicle sped through the crosswalk in the next lane of traffic failing to stop for the mother pushing her baby. If the mother would not have stopped and ensured the next lane of traffic was clear, she and her baby would have been struck by the passing vehicle. The next thing that could be heard was a siren from a police car, because a deputy was watching the crosswalk. The undercover deputy and the uniformed deputies could not believe that a motorist would not stop for someone pushing a baby in a stroller.

Lieutenant John Hocking said, "That is why the deputies conduct these types of operations. We do not want to see that mother and her baby injured or killed because a motorist is not obeying the law. How do you tell a mother that her baby was just killed by a motorist? On this day, we did not have to, we issued the motorist a citation and the mother and baby continued to enjoy the rest of their day."

In three hours, the deputies issued 44 citations and warned numerous other motorists. The deputies also issued one citation to a motorist for driving on a suspended license.

Sergeant Robert Weber indicated, "Motorists need to yield to pedestrians crossing in a marked crosswalk. It only takes seconds for a tragic incident to occur."

Lieutenant John Hocking

South Los Angeles Sheriff's Station

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department

(323) 820-6700

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Contact Information: Lieutenant John Hocking - (310) 219-2753,
Issuing Traffic Citation
Issuing Traffic Citation


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