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Letter to the Editor: Keep safety in mind heading back to school
W-Jeff Johnson SRO photo.JPG

A new school year signifies that autumn is just around the corner and football season is on the horizon, but most importantly – the returning of our students. There is nothing much more eventful than the beginning of a new school year.   

As we anticipate challenges and prepare for another year, it is important that we take time to address some potential public safety concerns. For us to be successful in keeping our children safe, we must all exercise responsibility. This is demonstrated through our care, our caution and our vigilance. It goes without saying, but everyone is vested with helping to keep our community’s children safe, not just those with children in our schools. 

With our student numbers increasing approximately 5 percent, we readily expect greater traffic congestion. In addition, we expect greater participation in parent pick-up and drop-off. We encourage our community to be patient, leave early and allow additional time for your commute. Tardiness, distractions and impatience are often the recipe for accidents.

We plead with you – please be vigilant and watchful. Although the schools make every effort to prevent kids from darting across lanes of travel, the possibility always exists. 

As construction on the Hwy. 9 South Bridge replacement continues, we urge our daily commuters to allow for increased delays or seek alternate routes.   

Selective traffic enforcement will be conducted with a focus on speeding violations, distracted driving violations, etc. Additionally, deputies will sporadically follow school buses to monitor for illegal passing and other offenses.

With the increase in city residents, we are witnessing more and more children walking to and from school. It is incumbent upon each and every motorist to always be on the lookout and to exercise great caution when driving. It only takes a moment for a child to step into traffic.

We strongly encourage parents and caregivers to be there for your children. School bus stops and community drop-off locations may present prime locations for predators to lurk. Please keep your children guarded. Any suspicious people, vehicles or behavior should be immediately reported to 911.

We urge our community to visit our website and click on the link to familiarize yourselves with Dawson County registered offenders.

We are especially proud to have a School Resource Officer (SRO) serving in every Dawson County School campus this year. We are blessed to have some well-experienced, well-seasoned deputies serving in these positions. As their titles imply, they are a resource for our children. We encourage our students, and our parents alike, to get to know your assigned officer.

As we continue to prepare and plan internally for the new school year, we stand ready and committed to respond to the needs of our students. However we know that it takes much more to ensure the safety of our children. It takes everyone watching, listening and acting responsibly, to ensure that our community’s children enjoy a safe and productive year.


Honored to serve as your sheriff,

Jeff Johnson