The Howard County Sheriff’s Department is the recipient of a new $3,000 grant that will be used to fund increased law enforcement to monitor school bus stop-arm violations.

The grant comes from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, which awarded a total of $380,000 to 39 police agencies throughout the state for overtime school-bus stop enforcement, a HCSD media release stated.

The grant money will fund additional patrols that will follow school buses throughout Howard County, especially in areas where violations are known to have been reported, the release stated.

Officers will be in both marked and unmarked police vehicles.

“We are excited to participate in this effort in reducing the number of stop-arm violators to help ensure our kids are safe,” HCSD Sgt. Justin Markley noted in the release.

In related news, the Peru Police Department has received a nearly $8,000 grant to boost patrols to enforce the state’s new law on school bus stop arms, which makes recklessly passing a bus a criminal charge that comes with up to a year of jail time.

Police Chief Mike Meeks said the department is using the grant to pay for six extra officers to patrol in the mornings and afternoons when the buses are picking up and dropping off students.

He said officers will follow the buses on their routes to ensure drivers aren’t illegally passing a bus when the stop arm is down.

State law requires a school bus to use flashing lights and extend its stop arm while loading and unloading students, and drivers are also required to stop in front of and behind the bus during this process.

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