Reno Police target unsafe pedestrians in campaign

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Reno Police focused Thursday on catching pedestrians and drivers crossing unsafely. It's part of the city's Pedestrian Safety Initiative.

Too often police find themselves at pedestrian crashes because someone wasn't paying attention.

"We are going after pedestrians that are being unsafe, drivers being unsafe and we're also going after DUI drivers," said Reno Police Sgt. Joe Lever. "A lot of the public are unaware of how unsafe it is."

Half of those accidents are caused by the pedestrians. As part of a monthly campaign, officers are hitting the streets to cite those not following the rules of the road.

"The common misconception: the pedestrian always has the right of way and that's not true," said Officer Seth Feathers.

This time, the target area was the Fourth Street corridor, one of the most dangerous areas to cross the street.

"Over here, it's really dark and pedestrians try to cross the street and it's too dark for drivers to see them," said Officer Feathers.

A popular spot among jaywalkers is near the bus stop off Evans Street. Some encounters weren't always pleasant. It's common for police to get a negative response, but they know arguing with people won't solve anything.

"They have the chance to argue that in court, that's the place to do that. That's why I didn't engage in the arguments," said Officer Feathers.

Others knew they were in the wrong.

"I was busted for jaywalking, but it's a crime. They're out here doing their job no matter how big or small it is," said one Reno man, who was caught jaywalking.

Jaywalking isn't always black and white. Crossing the street in an unmarked crosswalk is most of the time illegal, but if you walk across an intersection with no crosswalk, perpendicular to the road, it's not jaywalking.

If there's a crosswalk nearby, use it or pay a $123 citation.

The officers taking part of the campaign are working overtime with money from a grant.