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Modern School Bus Cameras Boost Student Safety For Colorado District

Safety Vision’s interior and exterior school bus cameras, along with wireless downloading features, meet staff needs and keep students safe at Jeffco Public Schools near Denver, Colorado.

The Jeffco district fleet is almost 430 buses strong.

Fleet Coordinator Michael Hinz serves as the project manager for the installation of upgraded camera systems in 357 school buses – the bulk of the district’s regularly used fleet. He explained that each bus is going from three internal cameras to four, and three external cameras are being added as well.

(Click on images to enlarge.)

Safety Vision began the installation process on 120 buses in January. The rest of the fleet should be upgraded by the end of June, Hinz reported.

Greg Jackson, director of transportation and fleet services at Jefferson County Schools, poses with a Blue Bird school bus. (Photo by Taylor Hannon.)
Greg Jackson, executive director of transportation and fleet services at Jefferson County Schools near Denver. (Photo by Taylor Hannon.)

Greg Jackson, executive director of transportation and fleet services, said that the conversation to upgrade bus cameras was born out of a desire for a more modernized system. One of the problems with the old system was that camera footage was lost when hard drives did not operate properly.

And Jackson certainly recognizes the value of an optimally operating bus camera system. He relayed a 10 percent increase in stop-arm violations over the past two years, with a bigger jump in violations over the past year.

Stop-arm violations are a distraction to the school bus driver when he or she should be focusing on students during the loading or unloading process, Jackson explained. Allowing the camera to catch violations frees up the driver to prioritize student safety.

A bus driver can push the panic button to capture a record of the illegal passing incident, which can then be pulled for follow-up by law enforcement. Transportation staff can use Safety Vison’s Foresight Pro video management system to stay organized and generate incident reports after reviewing critical video clips.

Bus cameras also target behavior improvements. Jackson noted that right-hand-side cameras capture bullying or aggressiveness by students or parents at bus stops.

The Importance of Planning & Partnership

“Look at what’s the right fit for you,” Jackson encouraged.

For Jeffco Public Schools, that conversation began in the community since both school administration and parents recognized that the district’s bus cameras system was in need of modernization.

“The tech was a dinosaur at the time,” Jackson laughed.

A district accountability committee and a strategic planning committee next discussed and gave feedback on the idea. The decision was made to phase in the project due to budget concerns. Once the RFP process began, bus technicians and fleet maintenance experts were also involved.

The 2019 winner of the School Transportation News Transportation Director of the Year Award, Jackson understands the importance of operational efficiency. He stressed the need to strategically take advantage of available funding, which in this case turned out to be a safety and security grant from the state of Colorado, as well as a scholarship from the Frank DeAngelis Foundation.

Safety Vision technicians work on installing bus camera upgrades for Jeffo Public Schools.

The result? The district and the community are both happy with the new and modern system.

“We’re all focused on student safety,” Jackson summed up.

He also advised partnering with a company that provides support throughout the process when considering any sort of technology upgrades.

Fortunately, that is the case with the partnership between Jeffco and Safety Vision.

Hinz noted that Safety Vision has proven a great company for the district’s needs in the past and turned out to be the perfect partner for this new project.

“We’re getting really good support from Safety Vision,” he confirmed.

Learn more about Safety Vision’s school bus solutions.

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