Marquette Wire

MUPD offering free pizza to safe pedestrians

Officer+Brian+Plachinski+hands+out+pizza+coupons+to+students+who+followed+pedestrian+rules.+Photo+courtesy+of+Jeff+Kranz.
Officer Brian Plachinski hands out pizza coupons to students who followed pedestrian rules. Photo courtesy of Jeff Kranz.

Officer Brian Plachinski hands out pizza coupons to students who followed pedestrian rules. Photo courtesy of Jeff Kranz.

Officer Brian Plachinski hands out pizza coupons to students who followed pedestrian rules. Photo courtesy of Jeff Kranz.

McKenna Oxenden, Crime Reporter

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Marquette Police Department is using positive reinforcement in the form of free pizza to educate students and drivers on pedestrian safety.

MUPD received an $8,000 grant in October to increase on-campus pedestrian and traffic safety. MUPD Cpl. Carrie Peters said the force wants to inform students about expectations of the law and fines if laws are broken.

“We’re finding a lot of people, both pedestrians and drivers, don’t know what the pedestrian laws are,” Peters said. “I think it can get a little trickier with pedestrians because, as somebody who goes through driver’s ed., they don’t tell you how to be a responsible walker, they tell you how to be a responsible driver.”

Recently, officers started giving out free pizza coupons to pedestrians walking safely. MUPD is working with 7-Eleven, which is providing the coupons.

“If we see that you are waiting despite there being no traffic around, and you are following the letter of the law for that walk sign to turn to walk, you get pizza,” Peters said. “It’s basically rewarding people for keeping themselves safe, which I think is a total win.”

“We’re out here trying to educate students,” said MUPD Captain Jeff Kranz. “We don’t want to punish them. We want them to comply on their own. We thought this would be a good educational tactic, especially with pizza.”

Peters said jaywalking can punish the perpetrator with a $70 fine and a ticket. She emphasized that pedestrians can cross the street outside of a crosswalk but traffic can’t slow down at all for pedestrians to be within the constraints of the law. It is also illegal to cross the street when a walk sign is prohibiting it.

Maggie Cleary, a freshman in the College of Health Sciences, said the intersection at 16th Street and Wisconsin Avenue has some issues.

“I’ve almost gotten hit by a car was when I was walking across 16th (Street) by Walgreens,” Cleary said. “Even though you have the right of way, some cars still turn.”

“Ideally, we could be in every corner in our patrol zone making people cross safely, but people need to do that on their own,” Peters said.

MUPD is looking specifically for safety violations and actions that put students in danger or drivers in unsafe situations.

“I have been here 11 years, and I’ve seen a huge impact in terms of drivers stopping for pedestrians in the cross walk,” Peters said. “That’s really exciting. I do feel like we are making a difference there.”

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