FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Monday was the first day of the SAVE program for the Fort Wayne Police Department. SAVE stands for Stop Arm Violation Enforcement.
Thanks to a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, FWPD is able to pay overtime to officers for a handful of weeks to keep them on the streets during peak pickup and drop-off hours for schools.
“This helps tremendously. It’s not something that we would be able to do on a regular basis if it weren’t for that,” Fort Wayne Police Lieutenant Tony Maze said.
Lt. Maze has organized for officers, who would normally be off-duty, to work various shifts either in the mornings or afternoons. Their sole focus is to keep a watchful eye on school bus stop arm violators, drivers who disregard cross walks near schools, and speeders in school zones.
WANE 15’s Rex Smith joined Lt. Maze on Monday morning and followed several of the routes. Lt. Maze said that for years bus drivers would report drivers who would ignore a stop arm or speed up to try and beat it.
“A stop arm is no different than a stop light and you have to honor it,” Lt. Maze said. “There’s kids that are going to get hurt if you don’t. It kind of amazes me that this is one of those things that we have to enforce, especially when there’s kids involved.”
“You know they’re going to be out there. You know they’re going to be making frequent stops. If it means you’ve got to leave home a little bit early to account for that, or leave home a little early so you’re not caught behind the school bus, then that’s what you need to do.”
The SAVE program will allow for the extra enforcement through May 13.