Police officers following buses to keep kids safe

Police are stepping up patrols to follow school buses in an effort to catch violators. (WTHR Photo/Rich Van Wyk)
Police Officers Out Patrolling to Improve School Bus Safety
Extra Patrols to Improve School Bus Safety
Extra Patrols to Improve School Bus Safety

MONROVIA, Ind. (WTHR) — With schools back in session comes the return of a focus on bus stop safety.

While there have been new laws and upgraded technology to improved safety at bus stops, police are making an extra effort to protect young students.

Sunrise reporter Alyssa Raymond tagged along with Morgan County Sheriff's Deputy Steve Hoffman as he followed a school bus Wednesday morning. Hoffman plans to do this every morning for the next four weeks.

The State of Indiana is paying the overtime bill for about 40 law enforcement agencies. That's $380,000. The Morgan County Sheriff's Office received $10,000 dollars of that.

This latest initiative is all about high visibility. Sarah Wagner drives a school bus for the Monroe-Gregg School District. She said she likes the idea of having Hoffman follow her in the morning.

"I think it's great to tell people to calm down," said Wagner. "Maybe leave a little earlier if you get aggravated when you get behind a bus."

Hoffman doesn't think there's one magic fix to get all drivers to pay attention to school buses.

"Obviously when you break down the day, the problem is distracted driving and aggressive driving," he said. "And if you can get into those two areas and figure out how to minimize and hopefully eliminate that, then we fixed the problem."

The first morning Hoffman followed a school bus for this latest initiative, he didn't have to pull anyone over. Everyone did what they were supposed to do.

"It's really just getting these drivers to realize the safety of these children are most important, and the primary thing that we should worry about," said Hoffman. "Not whether or not you’re going to be four or five minutes late. And if that's the case, then you should have left four to five minutes earlier."

If you're unclear on what exactly the rules of the road are when it comes to school buses making stops, click here. The state also has other tips and tricks for parents and students to make sure kids are staying safe while getting to and from school.