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'Okay, you can cross': The big need as the school year begins

De Pere seeks crossing guards to address shortage
Posted at 5:34 PM, Sep 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-01 18:53:11-04
  • Video shows crossing guards greeting students and explaining what they enjoy about the job
  • Captain Chad Opicka says the De Pere Police Department is hiring four regular crossing guards and several substitutes
  • The pay is $18 per hour in the first year, for seven hours of work per week
  • The application for De Pere crossing guards is available here

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

"​Have a great first Friday of the school year.," Thom Gerke told students.

As the school year begins in De Pere, students at Foxview Intermediate are greeted daily by a familiar face — crossing guard Thom Gerke.

"​Okay, you can cross," Gerke said. "​Walk your bike. "

De Pere is once again in need of crossing guards to get students to school safely.

Gerke says he took the job for the exercise …

"​I get my steps in, I'm active and doing something," Gerke said.

And community connections.

"I like the interaction too," Gerke said. "That also helps."

And it also doesn't hurt that he can give his grandson Jett a fist bump before school every day.

"​Have a good day," Gerke said to Jett.

The De Pere Police Department is currently interviewing for four open guard positions and several substitute openings.

"We had some unanticipated people that decided to retire," Captain Chad Opicka said.

Captain Chad Opicka says the need is critical, as when there aren't enough crossing guards available, police officers have to do the job.

​"Then what happens if there is an emergency where police officers are needed — now our officers are in a dilemma: 'Do I leave? Do I stay?'" Opicka said.

"They're all happy to see you; they all say thank you," crossing guard Rhonda Brzeczkowski said. "It's really fun just to see everyone come to school and just enjoy their day.

Gerke says the most challenging part of the job is not the students — but the drivers.

"If you need that extra minute, please leave an extra minute early from home," Gerke said.

To apply to be a crossing guard in De Pere, click here.