GLOUCESTER TOWNSHIP, N.J. — In a press conference last month, Gloucester Township Police Department Chief Edward Smith and Gloucester Public School District Superintendent Thomas Seddon announced the installation of a GPS system on school buses in a partnership between the two departments.
The police department has been using the system, made by New Hartford, N.Y.-based Track Star International Inc., and under the partnership, the movements of school buses will be monitored by police and school officials. The GPS devices on the school buses will report directly into the existing Track Star system at the police department.
Emergency events, including automatically detected crashes or the bus driver’s activation of the panic button, will send alerts to police dispatchers, units on patrol and school officials.
The program, reportedly the first of its kind in the state, was funded by a grant from the New Jersey Division of Highway Traffic Safety (DHTS).
"It’s a great, innovative program that I think will go far," said Suzanne O’Hearn of the DHTS.
The system is installed in 10 of the school district’s 105 active buses.
Police Chief Smith said that the system data are used to help identify factors in school bus crashes and to enhance enforcement of traffic laws. The grant request was made in response to a number of complaints received at the police department regarding aggressive driving and motorists passing school buses, he added.