ANDALE, Kansas– Imagine getting a letter in the mail from the Sheriff’s office saying someone saw your car illegally pass a school bus. That’s what the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office and local school districts are doing in hopes that the notes will help stop an ongoing problem.
Bus drivers, students, and parents see it happen far too often.
“I get calls on a weekly basis. Unfortunately it happens way too often. Honestly it scares me to death,” said Superintendent of Schools and Director of Transportation for Renwick Public Schools Tracy Bourne.
Renwick is one of many districts working with the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office to use bus drivers to help cut back on the amount of people passing stopped school buses.
“Our drivers, they’re our number one source,” said Deputy Ben Romero. Romero has been revamping the program for the past two months.
When a bus driver sees a violation happen the Sheriff’s Office encourages them to write down the license plate number and anything else about the car or driver.
Then the Sheriff’s Office finds out who the car is registered to and sends them a letter. It isn’t a ticket, but a note saying if an officer had seen the crime take place the fine and court costs would have been $425.
“They’re informative. I’d rather tell you this is what it would cost and you go, ‘Oh my gosh! Really? I’m not going to do that again,’” Romero said.
Plus, the Sheriff’s Office can use the information from drivers to increase patrols in problem areas.
On Thursday a Renwick driver used the form after a car passed a stopped bus full of children.
“We finally have something in place where we feel like we can make a difference and we can at least make somebody aware of what’s going on and hopefully that will be a start to some positive change,” Bourne said.
All of the school districts in Sedgwick County are encouraged to use the form, except for Wichita public schools because of their size.