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New Castle police patrol behind school buses to crack down on drivers ignoring stop arms

Data pix.

NEW CASTLE, Ind. — New Castle Police are cracking down on drivers who ignore school bus stop arms.

Since March 1, the department has been executing “Operation Stop-Arm,” which places officers on patrol behind school buses during pick up and drop offs. The officers look for those who ignore extended school bus stop arms.

“We’re just doing it for the safety of the kids and making the community aware that we’re out here keeping an eye on the kids themselves,” Police Chief Matt Schofield said.

Indiana state law says you must stop if a school bus has its stop arm extended. However, a 2018  one day study by the Indiana Department of Education found the number of violations has increased across the state.

School bus drivers reported 3,082 stop arm violations on April 24, 2018.

“We’ve not seen a whole lot while we’ve been out patrolling. Me myself, I’ve only cited one person for it,” Schofield said.

Schofield says the department was inspired to do the operation after three children were killed in Rochester last year.

“I know that was on a state highway but that can happen here on a city street any day of the week,” Schofield said.

Schofield says the bus patrols will continue though mid May. The department is also planning another round of patrols in the fall when schools start up again.

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