Flashing Red. Kids Ahead. Campaign – Sgt. William West

My name is Sergeant William West with
Monticello Police Department as well as Monticello School District. I work both
capacities when I’m not on duty with Monticello PD, I drive a bus for
Monticello School District and have been since 2008. It’s personal for me because
I have six kids and two of them two of them have graduated already I’ve got one
of them that is a senior this year and she she drives but the rest of the kids
they ride the bus with me anytime that I’m driving. I drive for school school
events, sporting sporting events, and I spend a lot of time a lot of time with
the kids in our community. You know, I attend one the churches here and our
youth group is large. So, at any given time, it’s not just a number,
as far as that child is a number on the bus, they’re a face and a name. And I know
their, I know their mom and dads. You know, like I said I’ve been driving a bus
for Monticello district since 2008 and I’ve seen kids
graduate out and I’ve seen babies starting to come up. So from the
beginning, if I can teach bus safety on how the kids need to, you know, sit in
the seats right, be mindful as far as getting on and off the bus, watching out
for cars, for people that are driving erratic. And even with their parents, you
know, parents if you see somebody that is repetitively, you know, just not paying
attention whether the bus is right there or not, please contact the authorities so
that we can ensure that our kids are safe. Mainly its distracted driving,
people playing with their phone, texting, which, I mean, that’s another thing that we
try to enforce here whether it’s school traffic or not. But when it’s school
traffic, especially in a school zone people have got to pay attention to what
they’re doing and the distracted driving I think is is the main main problem that
we have as far as people passing the school bus. Multiple times, people have
literally said to me, “I didn’t even see a school bus.” So if you can’t see a school
bus with you know the lights flashing and the stop arm out and a stop sign, that
tells me that they were doing something…that they wasn’t even watching the road. It upsets me. Here in Drew County we’ve tried to be very proactive
in in getting it corrected our prosecuting attorney’s office has worked
hand in hand with us. Which…bus drivers do have a form to fill out any anytime
somebody passes our bus while the stoplights and stop arm is initiated.
However, not being able to identify that driver has made it difficult as far as
prosecuting. So I talked to one of the state troopers that his child actually
rode my bus and explained to him listen I’ve got a situation to where people are
repeatedly passing my bus and I can’t identify them. So in working in conjunction
with my friend here in town that works for the State Police, he started
following my bus in the afternoons and it stopped it a whole lot. It’s not
completely stopped, but it is at least in Drew County and the surrounding areas
has made a huge impact as far as people paying more attention to the school
buses. People have just got to take responsibility for their driving. You
know, police presence has definitely helped here in Drew County. Like I said,
the State Police and Monticello PD have both been very proactive as far as
trying to write tickets, citations for those that pass the bus. The prosecuting
attorney’s office has been very good about you know prosecuting those, but
until people are more mindful of their driving and take responsibility for
their actions, I think that ultimately that’s going to be the main thing that that
stops kids from getting hurt. Please pass the word individually. If you see
somebody that is driving…well, that drives reckless on a regular basis and you
especially if you see them during school time call them on it call them out on it
and if it’s a repetitive, if it’s a repetitive issue where you see the same
same vehicle passing through the stoplights multiple
days in a row call your authorities. If it’s here in
Drew County of course called Monticello PD but call the authorities so that we can
get officers to be watching for that kind of activity and in particular that
person that is repetitively disregarding our school school bus lights and safety. you

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