The Florida Sheriffs Task Force, chaired by Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gaultieri, has released the results of its youth protection program, Operation Safe Schools. This four-week initiative aimed to reduce pedestrian injuries due to traffic infractions in school zones and increase students' safety. The operation was successful in raising awareness for traffic safety and in reminding drivers of the importance of safe driving.
Across the 39 counties that conducted Operation Safe Schools, 9,052 warnings and 5,922 citations for school zone violations were issued.
The Task Force Operation included nine categories of focus. The key outcomes from the four-week effort of Operation Safe Schools here in unincorporated Polk County are:
- Warnings for school zone violations: 211
- Citations for school zone violations: 95
- Warnings for passing a stopped school bus: 1
- Citations for passing a stopped school bus: 0
- Warnings for pedestrian violations: 93
- Warnings for bicycle violations: 28
- Citations for pedestrian violations: 2
- Citations for bicycle violations: 0
- Arrests generated from directed enforcement in school zones: 4
"We are pleased that after four weeks of intense focus on school zones across Polk County, we only had to make four arrests for school zone violations. We gave out a fair amount of warnings and citations, however, the majority of the citizens we observed and encountered during this initiative respected school zone speed zones and school bus rules - together, when we focus on keeping our children safe, we can make a positive difference." - Sheriff Grady Judd
"Operation Safe Schools raised awareness for an important safety issue," said Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri. "It is our hope that drivers will begin to realize the importance of upholding the designated traffic safety laws in school zones. We must improve our driving habits to keep children safe."
The Florida Sheriffs Task Force is a combined effort of the Florida Sheriffs focusing on coordination of statewide mutual aid, subject matter experts, and providing a point of contact for statewide initiatives. The Task Force is committed to maintaining the quality of life that Floridians have come to expect and have, therefore, committed to performing proactive operations each year to deter criminal activity.