Police put extra patrols in school zones to kick off 2016-2017 school year

KERNERSVILLE, N.C. - If you don’t have kids, you may have forgotten, but Monday was the first day of school for much of the Piedmont Triad. In case you did forget, law enforcement officers were staked out to remind you, should you give them a reason to.

“It’s the first day of school back, we’re gonna be out in school zones enforcing it and kind of getting people back in the habit of realizing school’s back in session,” said Master Police Officer I D.L. Gordon, of the Kernersville Police Department.

Kernersville police, along with several other departments including Greensboro and Winston-Salem, were parked in school zones to monitor them for speeders on this opening day of the 2016-2017 school year.

“We’re gonna be out here and we’re gonna get you. If you’re breaking the law in a school zone we’re gonna get you,” Gordon said.

Gordon didn’t write any tickets while we were on the ride-along with him, but did pull over two drivers to issue them warnings, as a reminder that they need to be aware of school zones and the children traveling to and from them.

“Coming through here every day not seeing them lights, it’s no problem. Now all of a sudden, it’s a problem. And if you gotta allot more time to get to work, allot more time, because these kids are our main priority right now,” Gordon said, of the Kernersville Elementary School zone. “This is a school zone where everybody likes to fly through, because West Mountain here is a main corridor through town.”

As Gordon finished the above sentence, he clocked a motorist going 34 mph in the 25 mph school zone, and initiated a traffic stop.

“We might hit it for a day and then back off, we might hit it for a whole week and back off. But we will hit the school zones,” he said.

Departments were also following school buses, some in unmarked vehicles, to catch stop arm violators.

The fine for speeding in a school zone begins at $250 and court costs around $188.

“I don’t know anybody that’s got $438 dollars laying around just to throw away,” Gordon said.

Penalties for illegally passing a school bus include a minimum fine of $500 and a class 1 misdemeanor.

Departments will put extra emphasis on the patrols in school zones all week, but will continue to run similar operations throughout the entire school year.