MERRIAM, Kan. — Police officers from departments across the Shawnee Mission School District geographic area began riding on school buses earlier this week to catch motorists who pass the buses as students board and disembark.
The move is part of the Badges on Buses program, which the district and its transportation provider, Durham School Services, established with nine local police departments.
The program launched on Tuesday at Oak Park-Carpenter Elementary School in Overland Park. The goal is to help raise awareness about the problem to increase safety for students as they are picked up and dropped off for school.
“We have a serious problem with vehicles not stopping for our buses when they are picking up and dropping off students,” said Les Hutchinson, safety and training supervisor for Durham's Merriam, Kan., location. "We couldn’t be happier with the support we’ve received from the school district and local law enforcement. We think it will make a big difference.” The Badges on Buses program uses school bus driver data to determine the areas that have the highest rates of illegal bus passing incidents. Police officers ride along on school buses in these areas, and when a vehicle does not stop for the bus’ stop arm and red flashing lights, the officer radios to a patrol car waiting nearby.