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Crossing guards, speed cameras get set for schools' opening day

With the start of the school year less than two weeks away, a shortage of school crossing guards remains in parts of Baltimore County.

The county, which is authorized to have 273 part-time crossing guards, has 36 vacancies, according to Ofc. Jennifer Peach, a Baltimore County Police spokeswoman. In May, the county had 70 vacancies.

Crossing guards are assigned to 109 schools in the county for two-hour shifts in the morning and afternoon. They do not have police powers.

When a school has no crossing guard either assigned or available, county police fill the gaps.

The majority of the vacancies are in Towson and Dundalk, Peach said.

There are no vacancies at schools within the Wilkins precinct, which covers southwest Baltimore County.

Crossing guards are paid $12.78 per hour, receive benefits, and are expected to work 10 hours per week during the school year, according to an online job listing for the position.They must be at least 18 years old, have transportation and be able to read, write and speak English.

Baltimore County announced Wednesday that speed camera sites are being added outside Catonsville Elementary School, in the 100 block of Bloomsbury Avenue, and Pleasant Plains Elementary School in Towson, in the 1600 block of Putty Hill Avenue.

The number of citations and warnings given from speed cameras placed near county schools increased slightly from 2015 to 2016. Last year, 184,350 citations and warnings were given out, compared to 180,529 the year before.

Through June, 79,514 citations and warnings have been issued, Peach said.

Speed cameras are installed, or in the process of being installed, at 58 public and private schools in the county. They operate on weekdays between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. year-round.

Elsewhere in southwest Baltimore County, speed cameras can be found near Johnnycake and Westchester elementary schools, Arbutus and Lansdowne middle schools, Southwest Academy and Catonsville, Lansdowne and Woodlawn high schools.

Citations and warnings are issued to motorists driving at least 12 mph above the speed limit.

Warnings are given during the first 30 days after a new camera is activated.

Speed camera violations come with a $40 fine but no points on a driver's record. Insurance providers are not notified of citations.

Revenue from the county's speed camera fines must be used for public safety programs, according to Maryland law.

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