City to consider school bus camera enforcement

By Lee Peck - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Catching the bus, it's how thousands of students in Calcasieu Parish get to and from school. Those buses carry precious cargo, but even with safety guards and caution lights some drivers are still putting kids in danger.

"There have been instances and situations where traffic approaching the school buses has not observed the signs and has actually gone head and driven on thru," said Lake Charles Mayor Roach.

That's why the Calcasieu Parish School Board asked the Police Jury to adopt an ordiance for non-incorporated areas so the Calcasieu Sheriff's Office can enforce. The Sheriff's Office would review taken from cameras but on the buses by a private company.

After some debate, the Police Jury passed the ordinance for the school board at a meeting last month. But in order for it to be enforced inside the city limits the School Board needs municipalities across the parish to adopt a similar ordinance.

"There would be no cost to the city, the city would not derive any revenue from this, but it would be required for us either to adopt an ordinance or to have a joint service agreement in order for the ordinance to be enforced inside the city," explained Mayor Roach.

Just like Lake Charles, other municipalities in the parish have also been contacted by the Police Jury about the cameras on the buses. The private company would collect the majority of the fines with the hopes that an extra set of eyes would help keep students safe.

"So the first violation would be $300 and the third would be 1,000 dollars... that wouldn't be nothing to sniff at," said Lake Charles City Council President Dana Carl Jackson.

No action was taken at Wednesday night's meeting. The item will be discussed further at next Tuesday's (October 13th) agenda meeting. If it makes it thru it will then be put up for final action at the regular meeting on October 21st.

Again all the cities in the parish will consider their options. Once the program starts there will be a 30 day grace period before any tickets are given.

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