- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
The Charles County commissioners voted Tuesday to let the Charles County Sheriff’s Office move forward with implementing a school bus camera program aimed at cracking down on cars that pass stationary buses.
Sheriff’s office Capt. Robert L. Cleaveland told the commissioners that the agency considered the program a couple of years ago, after lawmakers passed legislation allowing counties to mount cameras on school buses, but the available technology did not produce high-quality photos.
The cameras have since improved, and more recently, the department outfitted a school bus with one of the cameras “and found it to be very useful,” Cleaveland said.
Both the sheriff’s office and Charles County Board of Education are endorsing the program, Cleaveland said. Washington County already has implemented a school bus camera program, and several other counties are considering doing so, he added.
“Our goal is simply safety,” Cleaveland said. “We’re not looking at this as fundraising or a revenue generator at all. We’re looking for safety.”
Cleaveland said that the county’s speed and red light cameras have both been effective in making county roads safer for motorists and pedestrians.
“We see this as just one more tool in the toolbox,” he added.
The state law allows violators to be fined up to $250, but Cleaveland said that $125 fines are the “general recommendation” from other jurisdictions.
“Safety is paramount for our kids,” Commissioner Debra M. Davis (D) said, but she asked what the fines would fund.
“Though it’s not a revenue generator, it will generate revenue,” she said.
Cleaveland said the fines — like those from the speed and red light cameras — would go into an enterprise fund and be used to pay for the administrative costs of the program.
The commissioners voted unanimously to let the sheriff’s office look for a vendor that would provide the cameras and administer the program.