Thursday, October 11, 2007

Transit to Add Cameras to All Buses by 2010

October 10, 2007

Brenda Jensen believes video cameras on Metro Transit buses would have prevented one of the most frightening moments in her eight years as a driver.

In January 2006, as Jensen was parked outside Memorial High School, a group of students exiting the bus were confronted by the school's police officer responding to reports that they were planning to start a fight.

Jensen didn't think much of the incident until later as she was driving other students home. After the bus hit a bump, causing a thunk in the back, Jensen turned around to see a concerned child bringing forward the object that had fallen to the floor.

"I stopped and had a heart attack right there because this little girl was holding a loaded gun," Jensen said.

The students had hidden what turned out to be a realistic-looking pellet gun and a baseball bat underneath a seat. Fortunately no one was hurt, but Jensen doesn't think those students would have tried to bring weapons on the bus if they knew they were being watched.

A few months after that incident, Metro Transit equipped 15 of its 200 buses with four cameras each, and now Metro officials want to put cameras on all of its buses sooner than originally planned.

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