Peru Police Department steps up patrols at school bus stops

PERU, Ind. – The Peru Police Department launched a new school bus safety campaign on Tuesday to crack down on "STOP" arm violations.

The department is using federal funding from Operation Pull Over to catch and enforce these violations. Ten officers are working overtime to ensure children make it to and from school safely. They are working as undercover patrols and some even ride the school bus.

It's a response to the tragedy in Rochester where three siblings were struck and killed by a driver while walking across the street. The department is allocating roughly $2,500 to the campaign and it feels the initiative is worth spending money on.

"It made us take a step back and think what are we doing to keep our kids safe," said Michael Meeks, chief of the department.

Chief Meeks said one of his officers came to him with the idea to allocate federal funds. They have issued two tickets in two days. Each cost roughly $240.

"People might say that is a lot of money to spend for two violations but I think it speaks volumes to the way our citizens are adhering to the laws," said chief Meeks.

The Indiana Department of Education recorded more than 3,000 "STOP" arm violations in one day in 2018. Peru Community Schools' Transportation Director Fave Frushour estimated he receives about five to six complaints from bus drivers each day regarding vehicles failing to stop.

"I would like to see people not run "STOP" arms. I would like to see our five or six a day go down to zero a day," said Frushour.

Chief Meeks believes the campaign will go on for at least two weeks.