Local police receive school bus safety grants


Two local police agencies received grant funding in an effort to reduce school bus stop arm traffic violations.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Department received $39,680, and the Seymour Police Department received $3,000 for the effort.

The agencies are among 39 throughout the state receiving $380,000 from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.

The funding helps offset overtime agencies will accrue during school bus stop enforcement over the next two months. Officers will look for speeding, aggressive driving and school bus stop arm violations.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb announced the funding in a news release Monday. Holcomb signed a new school bus safety law that took effect July 1.

State law requires a school bus to use flashing lights and extend its stop arm while loading and unloading students along a roadway. State law also requires drivers to stop while the arm is extended.

On highways divided by a physical barrier or unimproved median, traffic traveling in the opposite direction as the school bus may proceed with due caution.

Passing school buses with their safety arms down is an infraction and could be a misdemeanor if a motorist is reckless.

“Indiana police officers will be enforcing increased fines and penalties for drivers who recklessly pass bus stops and drive aggressively,” Holcomb said. “This is one of many steps that Indiana is taking to protect the safety of school children as classes resume.”

Jackson County Sheriff Rick Meyer said it will allow his department to add four more off-duty officers to patrol bus stops and help with school traffic.

Meyer said two off-duty officers already help with traffic before and after school, and the grant will help offset overtime costs.

“It’s great that this grant will allow us to continue those efforts and make sure guys are on the road,” he said. “I want kids and school safety to be a top priority, so it’s exciting to see us get this grant.”

Capt. Carl Lamb said between 10 and 15 officers with the Seymour Police Department will help through the grant.

“That puts our officers out there two times a day,” he said. “It does not take officers off the street, so the other officers will be working overtime when they do the traffic patrols.”

Lamb said it is important for motorists to remain focused on driving, especially when they encounter school buses.

“Put your phone down, don’t be distracted and don’t pass school buses,” he said. “If we don’t do something about it, we’re going to have a tragedy like they had in northern Indiana last year.”

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