Hancock County

Hancock County

 
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Officers to board buses at random

Updated: Wednesday, August 28 2013, 06:29 PM EDT

By Jennifer Black


HANCOCK COUNTY, W.Va --


Hancock County Schools are implementing a plan that will put police officers on board school buses, at random, to protect students and the bus driver from traffic violators.


Police say there is a reoccurring problem of drivers ignoring the flashing lights and stop signs when buses are dropping kids off and picking them up.  They want to put a stop to it before something tragic happens.


“We've had so many near misses that it's gotten to the point-- if one person gets hurt or killed… that's one too many,” Hancock County Schools Superindendent Sue Smith said.


Following an approved grant and a green light from the school board, the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department will put officers on board buses at random, and the bus will be followed by a patrol car. 


Hancock County Sheriff Ralph Fletcher says it will allow the bus driver to focus on driving safely and watching after the kids.


“[Bus drivers] Don't have time to be looking at the description of the vehicle that's just violated the law.  They don't have time to be able to twist their neck around and see what their license plate is.  The officer will be able to do that,” Fletcher said.


Esta Dualney has four grandchildren in Hancock County Schools and said she worries about their safety daily.


“I don't think it's a bad idea.  As long as they don't overcrowd the kids with it, and you don't want to scare them,” Dualney said.


The sheriff will work with the transportation director to determine the buses with the busiest routes, and most dangerous stops, so that the most vulnerable students will be served.


"You don't know what side the kids are coming off of, or which corner, which side of the street they're crossing,” Fletcher said.


“We are not out to arrest everybody, but we certainly want our buses safe,” Smith said.


Smith said the program has never been done before, and she hopes other counties follow suit with similar programs.

Officers to board buses at random


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