Updated 2:06 p.m.
Did you see someone crossing the street downtown yesterday around between 11 a.m. and noon? He or she could have been an undercover Norcross Police officer.
The Norcross PD conducted a detail with an eye on pedestrian safety in the city, with two officers in street clothes at downtown crosswalks and six other uniformed officers standing back a distance, ready to flag down crosswalk violators in vehicles.
"We want to help the public understand," said Cpt. Brian Harr. "This is about compliance and education." Harr said he wants to dispel any ideas that Norcross isn't safe to be a pedestrian--and make sure people know that the police take this stuff seriously.
The opertation comes on the heels of a pedestrian being struck last week by a car in the Historic Norcross area. The woman was jogging across South Peachtree Street on Holcomb Bridge Road and a car turning left hit her, causing scrapes and bruises and a broken wrist, according to police.
About 10 officers gathered at the Police Department around 10:45 a.m. on Thursday to get the details of the operation. Sgt. Mary Williford reviewed Georgia Code for right-of-way in crosswalks with the officers: "The driver of a vehicle shall stop and remain stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is upon the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling," the code reads.
"Half of roadway" means all lanes going in one direction. For example, if a pedestrian is crossing Buford Highway, a four-lane road, the driver must stop if a pedestrian is in any of the two lanes in his direction of traffic.
The pedestrian has a responsibility, too. "No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close that it is impractical for the driver to yield," the code reads.
Williford told the officers that there are often complaints about this type of detail, so being clear and courteous is key. "Make sure you explain the law to the drivers," Williford advised. "Be polite, be courteous, explain what's going on."
The officers took to the downtown streets, with an undercover officer walking across Jones Street at South Peachtree Street and another walking across Wingo Street and Jones Street before the railroad crossing near Thrasher Park.
What they found was that, by and large, drivers seem to be respecting the pedestrians' space and following the rules. One citation was issued as a result of the detail, according to the Norcross PD.