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By Kelly Mayo; Dustin Porter
Managing Editor; Around the Campus Editor

November 8, 2012

Photo by Ashley Cole
Drivers on North Odum Street/Prospect Road pass through a police checkpoint on Oct. 24.

Roughly 800 people, both in cars and on foot, passed through police checkpoints on North Odum Street/Prospect Road on the morning of Oct. 24.

The checkpoint was carried out by a joint task force of all the police departments in Robeson County.

The police departments include the Robeson County Sheriff's department, campus police, Lumberton police and Red Springs police.

The task force has schedules for traffic enforcement checkpoints, and it allows police departments to collaborate with other departments in the area.

"The sergeant from Lumberton Police Department is over the task force so we spoke with him and we ended up having 12 officers altogether that participated," Det. Ed Locklear of campus police said.

Officers from campus police have participated in checkpoints with other departments before, but this was the first checkpoint where the goal was strictly to educate.

"It was education for the campus community dealing with the pedestrian crossing with the drivers and then the pedestrian laws," Locklear said.

Locklear noted that police had been receiving complaints from drivers that students are crossing anywhere on the road.

He also said pedestrians are complaining that drivers aren't stopping and allowing them to cross.

"The big thing was that pedestrians have to go to the crosswalks to cross; legally, that's where you cross," Locklear said.

Officers handed out "The Driver and Pedestrian" flyers to drivers who passed through the checkpoints. It listed eight informational and safety tips that drivers should follow.

An email Locklear sent to students, faculty and staff on Oct. 23 states that drivers who don't yield to pedestrians can be fined $100, with up to a $210 court cost.

The email also stated that pedestrians crossing at any other point than a designated crosswalk must give the right-of-way to vehicles. Pedestrians who fail to do so can be fined $35, with up to a $210 court cost.

This pedestrian law was printed in the pedestrian safety flyer given out to students who walked through the checkpoints on their way to campus.

Locklear noted that one officer who was stationed at the crosswalk near Berea Baptist Church and Moore Hall had to walk down towards Burger King to hand out pedestrian flyers because people weren't crossing where they were supposed to.

"The town has an ordinance for jaywalking," Locklear said. "And it is considered jaywalking…we're just trying to get pedestrians to get into that crosswalk to legally cross the street."

Campus police have observed that students tend to cross North Odum Street between the Oxendine building and Burger King where there is currently not a crosswalk.

Locklear said he doesn't believe a crosswalk will be put up because of location problems.

"It [is] so close to the railroad tracks, and they wouldn't have the room to put it in between the two restaurants with the turning lanes," Locklear said.

However, Locklear noted it is possible for crossing stripes to be put there, just not a crosswalk with barricades.

He adds that the same scenario could apply to the section of the street near Lindsay Hall.

Overall, Locklear thought the checkpoint was a success. He said he heard both positive and negative comments from drivers and pedestrians.

However, the majority of people said they were happy that the police were doing something about the problem.

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Updated: Saturday, December 1, 2012
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