New cameras for school buses in Rockingham County

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ROCKINGHAM COUNTY, N.C. -- Rockingham County Schools have installed new stop arm cameras on some school buses to reduce careless driving and school bus accidents throughout the county.

The stop arm camera named the "student protector," is made by Gate Keeper Systems and is the second of its kind installed in North Carolina.

The $2,000 cameras have four lenses and record drivers passing the stop arm, capturing video of drivers' faces and license plates.

Rockingham County Superintendent Dr. Rodney Shotwell said the technology allows the school system to track down and easily prosecute offenders with the help of the Rockingham law enforcement officers.

“If we've got evidence right there that you’ve passed the school bus, I’m going to do everything I can to increase your insurance and you are found guilty in a court of law for passing my school buses,” Shotwell said.

Dr. Shotwell plans to have all 150 buses equipped with the cameras within the next two years.

Sheriff Sam Page said the developments with the school system is a collaborative effort among all law enforcement agencies, which are working together to apply for a federal grant for two student resource officers to patrol the elementary schools.

Currently there is one student resource officer for each middle and high school, in addition to the officers who perform security checks at the six elementary schools in the county.

Surrounding counties are also increasing police presence and surveillance for the upcoming school year.

Randolph County is installing buzzer systems in the front entrance of every elementary and middle school. The system allows administrators to see visitors outside of the school and will unlock the door once the visitor is identified. The new system cameras cost the county $57,120.

Forsyth County Schools will continue their pilot buzzer system program, as well as adding six more stop arm cameras to their bus fleet.

Guilford County Schools have developed a task force that will meet to discuss school safety concerns. GCS is also working to provide bus drivers with further safety training.

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