More Cameras on School Buses, Increased Deputy Patrol

- HAGERSTOWN, Md. – With summer more than half over, the effort continues to make sure students are safer when they get back on and of school buses.

The Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention rewarded 53 agencies from 22 jurisdictions $540,722 to help make the trip to and from school safer for Maryland’s children.

Washington County Sheriff, Douglas Mullendore, said the Washington County department received $9,000 to help install more cameras on school buses and provide overtime for deputies to travel the school bus routes along the buses.

“People tend to, for whatever reason, not pay attention to the red flashing lights and the stop arm on the school buses and we're trying to keep our kids safe and that's the only way we can do it," Mullendore said.

Mullendore said they’re many people who still violate this law and the department is cracking down hard this year.

A survey conducted by the Maryland Department of Education found more than three-thousand violations of school bus-stop arms were recorded on a single day last spring.

The Washington County Public Schools Transportation Supervisor, Barbara Scotto, said the grant is a good thing for the kids and the drivers.

"When they're driving and they're making stops their focus is on students exiting the bus or boarding the bus and trying to keep an eye on traffic, so if they do have a violator it's nearly impossible to identify the make of that vehicle, get a tag number and be able to report that effectively," Scotto said.

"As far as it's good for students, it's a matter of saving a life, that's how important it can be,” Scotto added.

The Maryland Department of Education said the numbers have dropped since 2011, when more than 7,000 violations were recorded on a single day.

Washington County Head Start is also participating this year to have stop arm cameras on school buses.

Mullendore said he hopes to have ten more cameras installed on school buses before the first day of school, bringing the total to 20 buses.

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