It's been a little more than a week since vandals hit a Leon County bus barn, causing an estimated $20,000 in damage. That attack prompted school officials to take a closer look at the security of their bus compounds.
Right now they are gates surrounding each of Leon County's four bus compounds, but after the Martin Luther King holiday when vandals hit Deerlake Middle School’s compound, officials think that may not be enough.
On a recent January weekend, 20 Leon County school buses were the target of a vandal’s vendetta. They were found with slashed tires, broken windows and smashed headlights. This act drove home the need for extra security at bus barns around town.
"Explored the use of surveillance video but to them put where we need them would be extremely expensive," says Foster Rosser, ex. Director of Transportation.
School leaders estimate the cost of installing 12 cameras at the Deerlake Middle School's bus compound would run close to $40,000, so officials are looking at an alternative route.
"Looking at strategically placing camera's around compound to identify person trying to break in," Foster Rosser adds.
And possibly hiring guards to stand watch, but drivers say adding more security isn't the way to curb the problem of bus barn break-ins.
"I would like to see us start taking the buses back home, because we never had this problem like this when we took home," says bus driver Linda Shabazz.
Leon County doesn't have a high rate of vandalism at its bus barns. The break-in during MLK weekend was the first major incident in about four years. The last time vandals did real damage was when a Leon County school bus was stolen from Cox Stadium and set on fire which cost the district $65,000.
Leaders will look at each compound on an individual basis, and how many times vandals have struck there in order to determine how many cameras to put up at each bus barn.
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