Resource officer hopes new signage will improve school safety

You could say that Jeff Hudson is invested in Millsboro.

The now-detective for the Delaware State Police grew up in Millsboro, and he currently serves as the resource officer for Millsboro Middle School. So when he approached the Millsboro Town Council during its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 4, with the safety of Millsboro children on his mind, the council members listened.

Hudson explained that increased traffic in the growing town has caused pick-up and drop-off at the school to become more dangerous. His solution for the Town: Change signs that say “No Parking This Side of the Street” to “No Stopping, Standing or Parking.”

He told the council that parents and buses historically dropped off, and picked up, students on Wilson Highway, but that the school stablished a line on school property a few years ago to try to alleviate the potential dangers and road congestion caused by drop-off and pick-up times. He said that there have been several instances over the years of children nearly being struck on Wilson and Morris streets, and that some parents have tried to skirt around the “No Parking” signs with semantics.

“I’ve had parents over the years… Their comment to me and to my custodian sometimes is, ‘I’m not parking. I’m just stopping,’” said Hudson. “Clever, but true. And it works.”

But Hudson is not trying to “get back” at parents — he said he just wants to keep kids safe.

“I’m not looking to cite parents,” he told the council. “That’s not what I want to do. We want to do an education piece. If you approve this, what we’d like to do is an ‘alert now’ — which is a phone message to all parents noting the change, if approved, and that we’re going to educate the parents that they need to use the proper drop-off on school property.”

Town Solicitor Mary Schrider-Fox pointed out that a change in the town code would be required to create zones for the changes, and that the council could vote on that change next month, without the need for a public hearing.

“We can’t act on that tonight,” said Mayor John Thoroughgood. “I think we all understand what you are trying to accomplish here, and I think we’re all in agreement there.”

Hudson accepted the information and asked to address the council.

“I’ve been living in this town for … 45 years … and I just want to say, ‘Thank you for the decisions you guys have made over this town in the last few years.’ From the police department chief to Cupola Park — which I think is the best in the state — to just being a place to go get something to eat now, to the opportunity to take your kids down to Cupola Park to watch an awesome fireworks show... And I know that’s part of the Chamber, but I think you need to be commended for that. ... Thank you.”

“Thank you,” replied Thoroughgood, before drawing laughter from the council table and the crowd. “Compliments are accepted. We don’t get many.”

By Darin J. McCann

Executive Editor