In Gilbert, the carefree days of whimsically crossing a street at your leisure are over, as the Gilbert Police Department is beginning a sweep to cut down on jaywalking.
Um, talk about taking a bite outta crime...
With the school year fast approaching, police issued a firm warning to students and parents this week, basically saying: "We have citation books, and we know how to use them."
"What we try to do is educate the students first by notifying them and when that doesn't work, we will start issuing citations," says police spokesman Sergeant Mark Marino. "Our goal here is to keep students safe."
"When that doesn't work?" Marino's optimism deserves a round of applause.
Marino says the sweep is not in response to some geriatric on his porch shaking his fist and yelling: "Those pesky kids and their jaywalking!" He says the real goal is to keep kids safe.
"We've had a bunch of close calls at some of the schools," Marino says. "No one has been hurt, but it's only a matter of time if we don't take some sort of action."
Higley High School Principal Larry Rother sent an e-mail to students and parents alerting them to the department's new roll as "kings of the crosswalk."
"Gilbert officers informed school administration that they are conducting 'sweeps' of all high schools and may be ticketing students who are 'j-walking' after [school] dismissal and to and from seminary," Rother's e-mail says.
The penalty for high school jaywalking is a $210 fine -- and, of course, not having a cooler story to tell your friends as to why you were seen talking with the cops.