Chicago Crossing Guards Get Wireless Safety Net

CHICAGO, IL — City of Chicago streets are being made safer for local school children, thanks to Verizon Wireless and Motorola.

The two companies have teamed up to donate 200 wireless phones to City of Chicago crossing guards in a pilot program to support the Chicago Police Department's Safe Passages Program, which aims to protect Chicago neighborhood children on their way to and from school. Programmed to dial 9-1-1, 3-1-1 and the crossing guard's district headquarters' number, the phones will allow the guards to summon help quickly and easily in an emergency without leaving their post.

"City of Chicago crossing guards play a key role in keeping our children safe on the way to and from school," said Cmdr. Roberta Bartik, who oversees Youth Investigations for the Chicago Police Department. "This donation of phones is greatly appreciated. The phones will provide our crossing guards with an extra level of communication at the city's busiest intersections."

Under the pilot program, the Chicago Police Department will distribute the phones to crossing guards in five police districts across the city - the 4th, 8th, 9th, 24th and 25th. Prior to receiving the phones, the crossing guards will undergo training in phone usage and protocol.

"Every day, school crossing guards are on the front lines protecting our children as they navigate busy streets and intersections on their way to school," said Tracy Nolan, president of Verizon Wireless' Illinois/Wisconsin Region. "These phones will help the guards summon assistance quickly and allow them to report life-threatening emergencies or suspicious activities."

"Giving back to the community is important to Motorola, and we're honored to be a part of this donation to the Chicago Police Department," said Michael Tatelman, Vice President of Sales, PCS, Motorola, Inc.

According to the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, there were more than 51 million emergency calls placed from wireless phones last year. "It's my sincere hope that the crossing guards participating in this program will never have to make an emergency call, but it's reassuring to know help is only a phone call away," said Cmdr. Bartik.

The phone donations are part of Verizon Wireless' HopeLineSM community service program that puts wireless technology to work to help individuals and communities.

About Motorola

Motorola, Inc (NYSE: MOT) is a global leader in providing integrated communications and embedded electronic solutions. Sales in 2000 were $37.6 billion.

About Verizon Wireless

Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S. with more than 28.7 million wireless voice and data customers. The coast-to-coast wireless provider was formed by the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD), including Bell Atlantic Mobile, AirTouch Cellular and GTE Wireless. Verizon Wireless has a footprint covering more than 90 percent of the U.S. population, 49 of the top 50 and 97 of the top 100 U.S. markets. The company, headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, is 40,000 employees strong. Reporters and editors can find more information about the company on the Web at