‘Operation Safer Schools’ to crack down on speeding drivers

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Operation Safer Schools is starting up again.

The campaign began in 2016, with troopers pulling over thousands of people in school zones in a matter of weeks.

Chip Hughes, the former chairman of the Task Force on Safer Schools, worked for Gov. Pat McCrory several years ago, identifying safety in and around school zones as a major issue. 

“We partnered with (the Highway Patrol) to put together a project to aggressively go after folks committing dangerous violations and criminal violations in and around our school area,” said Hughes.

That started the campaign Operation Safer Schools, targeting school zones in 20 counties across eastern North Carolina. 

Trooper Doug Coley with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol said in 2016 there were more than 7,600 violations in the campaign’s eight week period.

“We had a lot of alcohol violations in and around school zones,” said Coley. “Weapons and drugs were also seized from a number of schools in school zones. That was another reason for implementing this program, was to cut into the way narcotics are being brought into our schools.”

This year, the campaign begins Monday, and it will run through September 21. 

“Speed is a major factor in school zones, so we are going to be working those and getting people to slow down,” said Coley. “Also working roads adjacent to the schools, follow some school buses, make sure people are stopping when children are unloading.” 

Coley and Hughes hope to spread awareness of Operation Safer Schools to deter people from speeding or committing other violations this school year.

They say the safety of students before, during and after school is their top priority.

“If the children feel safe, they will do better in school, so that’s what this whole thing is about,” said Hughes.

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