Sheriff deputy suspended after being caught on camera blowing past school bus stop arm
MONON, Ind. (WISH) — A White County Sheriff’s Deputy is off the roads after being caught on camera blowing past a school bus while its stop arm was displayed. The sheriff says his deputy could face serious fines, possible jail time, and could even lose his job.
The exclusive video provided to I-Team 8 shows a White County sheriff’s vehicle speeding past an extended stop arm on a school bus. This particular bus was being followed by another deputy, who was looking for stop arm violators.
“I got a call from one of our sergeants who was monitoring school bus stop arm violations at the time that witnessed it, and immediately informed me,” White County Sheriff Bill Brooks told I-Team 8.
Sheriff Brooks says that his deputy saw the bus, but can’t explain why he didn’t stop. “He said he had seen the school bus obviously, so I don’t know what he was thinking,” Brooks said.
White County police have a grant that runs until the end of the year, allowing officers to enforce stop arm laws and give buses extra reinforcement. Every day, a county or city police officer will randomly pick a bus and follow it in order to keep an eye out for violators.
Every North White County school corporation bus has at least two cameras on the outside that turn on when the stop arm is in use. One of the cameras faces back, and the other towards on-coming traffic.
North White County schools provide bus transportation to about 400 students every day. Students that live in town are picked up by parents or guardians, or they walk home.
All of the bus routes are in rural areas, and it is not uncommon for other drivers to get in a hurry and pass a school bus.
Dean Cook, the director of transportation at North White County schools, says 90 percent of the stop-arm violators are from on-coming traffic. “This is no more serious than any other, except it had to be a police officer that disregarded the stop arm,” said Cook.
Cook says the cameras have saved lives by keeping a handle on offensive drivers.
“If a driver calls in and says they have a stop arm violation, we pull the hard drive. I review it here, and if it looks like there is, then we call the police and turned it over to them,” said Cook.
“The very next day, he was suspended. I have turned it over to the prosecutor, he turned it over to a special prosecutor,” said Brooks.
The special prosecutor is expected to make a decision on whether to charge the deputy by Friday.
Sheriff Brooks declined to offer the name of the deputy but said a first-time violation of the stop-arm law could result in a 90-day suspension of his driver’s license and a $10,000 fine.