Street Squad: School buses of the future - Dallas News |

Street Squad: School buses of the future

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There's a new tool keeping students safe and cutting down on crime on school buses. It's called Busguard, a high-tech transit security system, and it's already in use in Dallas.

Dallas schools and the vendor believe the technology will ease parents' concerns when their children are on the bus, and now, it may roll out to districts across the state.

Dallas County Schools Police Chief Scott Peters says the Busguard safety program has already helped solve several crimes. 

"We had an incident where had a robbery," said Peters. "The camera captured the incident. We were able to see the person go into the child's pocket and steal the money. That's easy evidence."

That particular incident involved school students on the bus.

In 2009, Dallas County schools equipped buses with cameras that monitor people who run stop signs as kids get on and off buses. Since then, technology has evolved dramatically.

Now, school buses with Busguard are complete with a fingerprint scanner that checks everyone who gets on or off buses. They also have GPS that tracks them throughout entire routes, and they stream video from both inside and outside the whole time.

Dallas County Schools says speeding, evasive or erratic moves on the road alert the command center to take a closer look at what's happening.

DCS says the ability to look at a scene in real time can be helpful in a variety of scenarios.

"Vehicular accidents, onboard bullies, hit-and-runs by stop arm violators, stalking pedophiles, hijackings, breakdowns and lost children," said Larry Duncan, DCS board president.

It costs about $9,000 to equip each bus with the Busguard system, and right now about 1,200 buses are equipped with the system.

DCS says right now, the program has paid for itself by way of $300 fines issued to drivers running school bus stop signs.

"We issued approximately 50,000 tickets last year last year for the stop-arm cameras, within the city limits of Dallas only," said Chief Peters.

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