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Police departments get grants for traffic enforcement at school bus stops

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Police departments get grants for traffic enforcement at school bus stops

With the new school year starting up, Hoosier police agencies will be receiving funds for traffic enforcement at school bus stops.

The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute is giving approximately $380,000 to 39 agencies for overtime school bus stop enforcement over the next two months.

“Indiana police officers will be enforcing increased fines and penalties for drivers who recklessly pass bus stops and drive aggressively,” Gov. Eric Holcomb said in a statement. “This is one of many steps that Indiana is taking to protect the safety of school children as classes resume.

This past year the Indiana General Assembly passed Senate Enrolled Act 2 in response to the accident that claimed the lives of three children last year at a school bus stop in Fulton County.

Alivia Stahl and her twin brothers, Xzavier and Mason Ingle, were hit and killed last October after Alyssa Shepherd, who was on her way to work, failed to stop for a school bus as the children crossed the street. The bus lights were flashing and the stop arm was extended.

Shepherd is scheduled to stand trial in October on three counts of reckless homicide, one count of criminal recklessness and one count of passing a school bus with its safety arm extended.

SEA 2, authored by Sen. Randy Head, R-Logansport,makes running a school bus stop sign a Class A misdemeanor, up from a Class B misdemeanor. If the action results in injury, it is a Level 6 felony, and if the action results in a death it is a Level 5 felony, which carries a penalty of one to six years in prison.

The new law requires school buses to have reflective tape in certain areas, operate with daytime running lights and says drivers should load and unload a student as close to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.

Others changes include that if a school bus is operated on a U.S. or state route, outside city or town boundaries, the bus driver may not load or unload a student at a location that requires the student to cross a roadway. The only exception is if there are no other safe alternatives.

State law had already required motorists to stop, rather than simply proceed with caution, when a school bus is picking up or dropping off children, as signaled by its lights and an extended stop arm. 

Drivers do not have to stop if the road is divided by a physical barrier such as a guardrail, concrete barrier or grass median. On a divided roadway, only vehicles traveling in the same direction as the school bus are required to stop.

Around 230 Indiana police agencies receive federal grants for traffic enforcement including speeding, aggressive driving and school bus stop-arm violations.

Police agencies may apply for future traffic-enforcement grants, including school-bus stop enforcement grants, through Aug. 30 at www.in.gov/cji.

The following departments received funds:

Avon Police- $7,812

Boone County Sheriff- $23,650

Brown County Sheriff- $10,000

Cedar Lake Police- $4,000

Connersville Police- $3,111

Chesterton Police- $12,000

Decatur County Sheriff- $3,000

Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corporation Police- $1,238

Fort Wayne Police- $49,975

Fulton County Sheriff- $2,500

Griffith Police- $5,000

Hamilton County Sheriff- $5,000

Hammond Police- $8,000

Hancock County Sheriff- $6,000

Hobart Police- $10,000

Howard County Sheriff- $3,000

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police- $44,000

Jackson County Sheriff- $39,680

La Porte Police- $3,000

Lowell Police- $4,000

Madison County Sheriff- $6,500

Marshall County Sheriff- 3,300

Merrillville Police- $6,000

Mishawaka Police- $25,000

Morgan County Sheriff- $10,000

Muncie Police- $6,000

New Castle Police- $5,500

Newburgh Police- $4,000

Paoli Police- $1,050

Peru Police- $7,936

Princeton Police- $4,000

Rockport Police- $4,713

Scott County Sheriff- $7,353

Sellersburg Police- $10,000

Seymour Police- $3,000

Tell City Police- $1,200

Tippecanoe County Sheriff- $15,750

Vigo County Sheriff- $9,120

Winona Lake Police- $8,000

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