PANAMA CITY, FL. (WMBB) — We now have the first month of school under our belts and Bay County Sheriff’s Office finally received results from Operation Safe Kids Tuesday.
Operation Safe Kids Kicked off its first year in Florida from August 21st through August 25th.
The goal is to raise awareness of school zone and school bus safety laws in the state of Florida. According to the Florida Sheriff’s Task Force deputies handed out more than 5,000 traffic citations throughout the state during the operation. Are very own Sheriff Tommy Ford is the chair of the task force. Bay County alone had 181 citations, 205 warnings, and 12 arrests. Bay County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Kevin Francis says there are some common problems causing issues in traffic safety.
“The biggest problems that we were seeing and we were taking complaints about was people passing stopped school buses. That was always a big one for us. So we really try to concentrate on that quite a bit. And then the speeds inside the speed zones or inside the school zone,” said Francis.
The citations can cost a hefty price. If you pass a stopped school bus on a multilane road, it’s a 270-dollar fine and 4 points on your license.
Part of the operation included more than 80-thousand social media posts statewide relating to traffic safety, like reminding drivers about school bus laws.
Lieutenant Francis says with these social media posts they have seen improvements throughout the community.
“A lot of the education materials that we put out really did a good job of getting people’s attention and letting them see what’s going on in these places. So, yeah, to answer your question, we have seen less of these violations since that time,” said Francis.
Other issues have come up, like people not paying attention, and kids being on their phones while the traffic is busy at school. Bay County Sheriff’s Office Captain Mario Lupica says he witnessed this firsthand.
“Just yesterday morning, I was on Harrison Avenue and a group of high school kids walked right out in front of me in the crosswalk on green, didn’t even look. They were on their cell phones, And you know, had I not been paying attention, it could have been bad,” said Lupica.
The Florida Sheriff’s Task Force plans to stage Operation Safe Kids again next year.