Eight Northwest Indiana law enforcement agencies will receive grant funding for increased traffic enforcement near school bus stops.
The announcement came Monday morning from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute as many Northwest Indiana teachers and students gear up to return to school.
"Indiana police officers will be enforcing increased fines and penalties for drivers who recklessly pass bus stops and drive aggressively," Gov. Eric Holcomb said in a news release. "This is one of the many steps that Indiana is taking to protect the safety of school children as classes resume."
Over the next two months, the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute will award about $380,000 to 39 Indiana agencies for overtime school bus stop enforcement, according to the release.
Among Northwest Indiana recipients are Cedar Lake Police receiving $4,000, Griffith Police receiving $5,000, Hammond Police receiving $8,000, Hobart Police receiving $10,000, LaPorte Police receiving $3,000, Lowell Police receiving $4,000 and Merrillville Police receiving $6,000.
Chesterton Police will also receive $12,000, according to the release, though that money will fund the Porter County Traffic Safety Partnership, Chesterton Police Chief David Lohse said in an email.
In May, Holcomb signed into law heightened penalties for drivers who recklessly pass a stopped school bus with an extended stop arm and lights flashing. Drivers are required by law to stop while bus arms are extended unless driving in the opposite direction of the bus on a divided highway with a physical barrier or unproved median, according to the release.
In recent months, a number of local school districts like the Hanover Community School Corp. and the Lake Central School Corp. have explored additional means of promoting bus safety including using bus stop arm cameras and launching public information campaigns.
The Indiana Criminal Justice Institute is continuing to accept school bus-stop enforcement grant applications. Law enforcement agencies can apply through Aug. 30 by visiting the institute's website at in.gov/cji.