Jurors consider cameras on school buses

By Theresa Schmidt - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - It's illegal to drive around a school bus that has its lights flashing and stop sign extended. Yet law enforcement officials say people do it all the time. But if local officials have their way, violators could get caught on video.

When a school bus has its stop sign out people are supposed to stop to ensure the safety of children being picked up or dropped off. Local law enforcement and school officials say so many people drive around the buses it's a miracle more children aren't hurt. So, both school and sheriff's officials support the idea of putting cameras on the school bus stop arms to catch and ticket those who ignore the stop arm. Calcasieu Chief Deputy Stitch Guillory says cameras will help keep children safe. "The camera thing is the best thing that could happen. Let me give you an example. The sheriff and I were in Lafayette this week. One of the things he told me as I was riding down the road, 'Don't run the red light 'cause we don't want to get a ticket in the mail.' It works. If you go to Lafayette and you run a red light, you're going to get a ticket."

Police jurors must decide whether to amend the code of ordinances to provide for cameras and related safety enforcement. 75 percent of money from tickets would go to the company that owns and operates the camera system while 25 percent would go to the school board and law enforcement. Some jurors like Les Farnum have questions.  "I have concerns about companies soliciting business in the name of safety."

Yet the safety of children is top priority. Said Juror Sandy Treme, "It's just a miracle that no one has been hurt and we haven't lost one precious life."

Jurors gave committee approval to the idea of cameras on school buses and related enforcement. It's on the agenda for September 3rd regular meeting.

Also on the agenda for next Thursday's regular meeting: to call a special bond and tax election for November 14th for improvements at the courthouse complex and jail. Details will be announced next week. Jurors also plan to adopt covenants dedicating the funds if voters approve the tax and bond propositions.

(Copyright 2009 KPLC-TV. All rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)