Police, Schools, and Community Members Honored for School Bus Stop Arm Camera Program
Wednesday, May 20, 2015 -- “Team Stop Arm” has won the Community Policing Award from the local chapter of ASIS International, a worldwide association of law enforcement professionals. The team worked together to create an effective school bus stop arm camera program that builds a stronger culture of safety in the community.
"Changing the patterns of motorists in one of the nation’s worst areas for rush hour is significant, but ensuring the safety of our City’s children in every aspect is priceless," said City of Falls Church Police Chief Mary Gavin. "This team built a comprehensive, credible system of safety that has paved a smooth path for others to follow and has left a legacy of best practices. Where each team member is a champion in their individual respective roles, their collective effort is the definition of community policing at its best."
A true collaborative public-private effort, the team includes City of Falls Church Police Captain Rick Campbell, Lieutenant Pilar Uelmen, Falls Church City Public Schools bus transportation coordinator Nancy Hendrickson, community member and parent Stephanie Oppenheimer, School Board member Kieran Sharpe, and Charles Turner of American Traffic Solutions (ATS).
Ms. Oppenheimer, enlisted the help of Mr. Sharpe to present the idea to the Police Department, using examples from other communities nationwide. Capt. Campbell and Lt. Uelmen worked with Mr. Turner and ATS to customize the program for the community. The program manager duties for all logistics and training fell under the responsibility of Ms. Hendrickson. The program launched in October 2013 with six school busses outfitted with cameras.
Prior to the stop arm camera program, the Police Department issued an average of 10 written violations per year. In 2014, 808 violations were issued for motorists passing a stopped-school bus, loading or unloading children.
About the School Bus Stop Arm Camera Program
High-resolution cameras installed on the exterior of the bus automatically capture images and video of violating vehicles as they illegally pass the stop arm.
In addition to capturing video, the system automatically embeds a data bar which includes GPS coordinates, date and time of the violation, and other relevant violation information used to create a comprehensive evidence package.
Once the system captures the full violation package, it automatically sends the violation data to the vendor’s remote back office for review and processing.
A final review of the violation image and video is conducted by City of Falls Church Police, who then may approve or reject the violation. If the violation is approved, a citation is issued and mailed to the vehicle owner.
ASIS, founded in 1955, is dedicated to increasing the effectiveness and productivity of security professionals by developing educational programs and materials that address broad security interests, such as the ASIS Annual Seminar and Exhibits, as well as specific security topics. ASIS also advocates the role and value of the security management profession to business, the media, government entities, and the public. More information is available at ASISonline.org.