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Bello highlights public safety efforts in address

Monroe County Executive Adam Bello.
Max Schulte/WXXI News
Monroe County Executive Adam Bello.

Three months ago, the Greece Central School District became the newest participant in a Monroe County initiative to put cameras on buses. The cameras are meant to capture cars illegally passing stopped buses, and the firm that provides them reviews footage of potential violations and forwards it to the county, which then issues tickets based on the recordings.

During his State of the County address on public safety, held Monday in Greece school district's bus garage, County Executive Adam Bello said since then, those cameras have captured more than 1,100 violations.

"That means on average, about 100 motorists every week are violating the law and endangering the children by passing stopped buses — 100 times a week in just one school district," Bello said. "All told, nearly 3,700 violations have been recorded since those school bus safety programs started in Hilton back in October."

Hilton was the first district to sign on to the county's program. There are now five participating districts.

School districts can opt in to the “stop arm camera" program. Bello said it doesn't cost the districts or the county anything. BusPatrol, the company that installs the cameras and forwards footage of violators to the county, takes a 40% cut of the fines the county collects.

During his address, Bello announced that the county will use its share of the ticket revenues to invest in traffic safety programs. He said the county will work with towns and districts participating in the camera program to target traffic safety concerns in their communities.

As part of the speech, Bello also highlighted a program in the county probation office that he said is helping drive down the number of car thefts across the county.

The program is called Juvenile Enhanced Diversion Stabilization, or JEDS. The county started it to counter a rise in juvenile crime.

"There was no supervision or intervention between the arrest and the court date to deter those juveniles from re-engaging in the same behavior that got them arrested in the first place," Bello said. "There was no accountability."

He said that now when juveniles are charged with an offense, probation officers get involved immediately to provide supervision and supports.

Bello said 367 youths have gone through the program since it started last August. He also said the number of car thefts in the first four months of the year are less than half of what they were for the same period last year.

Right now, the most intensive part of the JEDS program lasts two weeks. But Bello said the county is expanding that window to four weeks.

"A longer stabilization period will ensure that these young people are even less likely to commit new crimes," Bello said, "but they're also connected to the services, supports and resources that they need to be successful."

Jeremy Moule is a deputy editor with WXXI News. He also covers Monroe County.