Three Collegedale Police Officers were recognized for their efforts in keeping students safe when they are exiting the school bus.

So far this year, the department has written 39 citations to drivers who pass a bus with the stop sign out.

The Hamilton County Schools Transportation Director says this is a statewide issue. 

They want to continue their efforts in reducing the likelihood of a child getting hurt.

Detective Brandon Allen with the Collegedale Police Department also drives school buses for Hamilton County Schools.

He sees the dangers of distracted driving every day.

Allen says drivers need to know the importance of stopping when a school bus driver puts out their stop sign.

He says kids are unpredictable.

“They’re getting off the bus, they drop their backpack, and their homework starts blowing across the roadway,” said Detective Brandon Allen. “They are going to go chase after the homework I've seen it firsthand.”

Corporal Sheila Strange was one of the officers awarded for cracking down on drivers who do not stop when the school bus is picking up students.

She says this has been a reoccurring issue in Collegedale.

“We would see four or five even six cars were passing a bus at a time,” said Sheila Strange. “Now it's one maybe.”

Officer Brighton Spain was also awarded. 

He says his own kids motivate him to make sure people stop when they are supposed to.

Spain says multiple lane roads have the most problems.

“I think where most of the confusion comes from is a lot of people argue that the center lane is a barrier it is not it must be a concrete or grass median,” said Brighton Spain.

Allen says even drivers who are not stopped immediately can still receive a citation.

“We have a two-way radio that you can call to give the tag information to the county dispatcher, but as a bus driver your actions are limited,” said Allen.

Law enforcement says passing a school bus when the stop sign is out is a Class A misdemeanor, which can come with a punishment of up to 11 months in jail and a fine up to $2,500.

The three officers awarded were Brighton Spain, Sheila Strange, and David Schilling.