9/20/2018Dallas, Texas Signs School Bus Camera Deal
Dallas County, Texas decides to keep school bus cameras despite school bus camera scandal that brought down Dallas County Schools.
A school bus camera contractor sent Dallas County, Texas Schools into bankruptcy, yet county officials have doubled down by accepting a new bus camera deal. Dallas residents voted to dissolve Dallas County Schools last year after the organization's leadership was caught taking bribes from automated ticketing vendor Force Multiplier Solutions. The Dissolution Committee for the Former Board of Dallas County Schools (DCS) inked the new deal with BusPatrol.
"BusPatrol owns the stop arm camera technology Intellectual Property that was previously owned by DCS and installed on buses across Dallas County," stated a press release issued Tuesday by BusPatrol chief David Poirier. "They are a new independently owned and operated company that is focused on highlighting and protecting student safety across the country. BusPatrol is not involved in the dissolution of DCS."
Force Multiplier Solutions is the company that bribed and bankrupted Dallas County Schools. Poirier himself served as president of Force Multiplier Solutions, and BusPatrol does business from the exact same Lorton, Virginia, address as Force Multiplier. BusPatrol retained many of the former company's leaders.
So far, the school bus camera scheme engineered by Force Multiplier has led to four felony corruption convictions. Force Multiplier CEO Robert Leonard had his luxury goods seized and he faces up to a decade behind bars for distributing $3 million in bribes to Dallas County Schools superintendent Ricky Dale Sorrells, who also entered a guilty plea on corruption charges. Slater Washburn Swartwood Sr helped launder the school bus stop arm cash to Sorrells and a number of politicians including city councilman Dwaine Caraway.
Earlier this month, the US Marshals Service also seized a Force Multiplier Solutions bank account containing $557,273 in cash in advance of sentencing hearings that begin on December 14.
BusPatrol insists that its cameras will "help protect students," but accidents caused by motorists passing school buses are rare according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
"Nearly two-thirds of the school-age pedestrians fatally injured in school transportation-related crashes were struck by school buses or vehicles functioning as school buses," the federal agency explained in a report last year (view report).
In 2015, no school-age children were stuck by motorists passing a school bus, compared to eleven who were struck and killed by the school bus, according to the agency. In the past decade, two children have been killed by passing motorists compared to 61 who have been struck by a bus over the same period.