School is back and that means so are the kids

By Randy Dixon

Cameron Police Chief

Last week, I spoke about the start of school and how the traffic and the issues of traffic abound around the schools. I want to address this again as it’s the first week of school for our Cameron school kids with almost a week under their belt. 

One down and only 35 to go if you are a school age kiddo. Traffic has been heavy this first week and we have had a number of traffic complaints come in on the very first day of classes. I realize that everyone has to get back into the routine of school but kids are both excited and sad summer is over and many times fail to watch what is happening around them. 

I sit often in the school zones and see young children, kids under 7 or 8 years old, walking to school on their own. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be 7 or 8, have to walk to school in this big world we live in and watch for cars, watch for strangers, and worry about whether they going to get there on time. 

Cameron is made up of good and decent people. But like any city in this world, there are some people who take advantage of the youngest and weakest of our society. As a police officer, and especially the city Police Chief, I urge every citizen to keep your eyes and ears open for youngsters who are walking to and from school. To them, you are a stranger, too, so my best advice is to simply observe and pay attention to the actions of the kids and more especially any actions of people who may approach any of the young kids as they walk to and from school. 

Over this past summer, the police department has had the opportunity to be a part of five or six programs for kids here in Cameron. The officers of this department became proactive by teaching the kids in these programs and meetings about strangers, safety, bullying and daily living in a small community. I am hoping these hundreds of kids who we spoke to this summer will take what they have learned and use it wisely and help their friends who did not have the same opportunity to visit with our local police officers on a one to one basis. This department will continue to be proactive by teaching and taking part in safety programs for our youth. It is better to be safe than sorry in my mind and hope that the parents of our local kids will encourage them to be a part of being safe in everything they do. 

Learning starts at home. I also encourage parents to take the time to talk to your kids about the reality of life in America today. We don’t want anyone be scared of being in society but we do want our young people to be educated on the perils of growing up, being alone at home, strangers, dangerous people and the life. Teach your children about safety. Teach them about what to do in case of an emergency. Most importantly teach them about right and wrong and how to do the right thing when it comes to bullying, childhood altercations, alcohol/drugs and respect for individuals, especially adults. 

Along those same lines, a number of activities have sprung up in and around the Junior High/Elementary School and the sports fields to the East. Signs have been posted which warn drivers of the violation of driving on the walking track. This track is not constructed or made for vehicular traffic. It is for walking, jogging and bicycles. Several sports activities will crank up soon here and please don’t put yourself into a situation to receive a ticket for driving on the track itself. Crossing it to get into a parking lot is permissible but driving on the track itself is a violation of city codes. 

Finally, a reminder about school buses and their occupants is necessary since school is in full swing. Several articles this past month have addressed this issue but one more time it is so important to not take chances with kids and their entering/exiting the buses. One of the most dangerous times of the school day for students is when they are boarding or exiting buses. Drivers who illegally pass school buses in Texas will face maximum fines of $1,250, up from $1,000. Under current Texas law, drivers who violate school bus-passing laws more than once also face suspension of their licenses for as long as six months. As the new school year opens, I urge drivers to do their part in keeping youngsters safe by obeying school zone speed limits and stopping for school buses.

Cameron PD will not tolerate individuals who disregard the law and illegally pass stopped school buses. Due to several complaints lodged last year for passing school buses, it may come to the fact that we might have to place an officer on a bus to monitor traffic. The police department will again have Officer Domel directing traffic at 22nd and Fannin. This seems to help relieve traffic but it will not fix all the traffic issues. There may be time due to weather or police call volume he can’t be there. We will do our best to have an officer free but in event this can’t be done, we ask the public to please drive Texas Friendly to their motoring neighbors. 

Next week’s article will come from the new Cameron Police Headquarters ... we hope to be fully functional in the new location within 10 days or so - start making your plans for Oct. 4, the National Night Out event.