If you're headed out the door Wednesday morning in Albemarle County, you might notice more school buses - and cops - on the roads.
Police are stepping up patrols as students head back to class. Mother of five, Katy Mullin, is getting ready to let go of her 5-year-old, and send her off on the school bus for the first time.
"My kindergartner is so excited about starting at Meriweather this year," Mullin said. "Riding the school bus is a big treat for her."
It's a big treat that Albemarle County police want to make sure goes smoothly. The extra patrols in school zones and bus routes starts Wednesday morning. Sergeant Sean Hackney says it's an effort that will continue for the next few days.
"We just want to make sure that people are aware there's kids, there's parents," Hackney said. "A lot of times, the last thing on their mind is the car that's coming at them."
Hackney says they will have marked and unmarked patrols looking for cars speeding through school zones. They also want to make sure drivers stop when buses are loading and unloading.
"The only time that you can pass a bus that is loading and unloading, is if there is a physical barrier between your travel lane and theirs," Hackney said.
Plans call for all five traffic officers, at least one or two regular patrol units, and some additional overtime officers will also be on duty to focus on back to school safety every morning for at least the rest of the week. For Mullin, that news is offering peace of mind.
"I think it's great," she said. "Anytime you've just got one more eye watching, is wonderful. It takes a lot of people to raise a good community of kids. You can't do it on your own."
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Derick Waller joined the NBC 29 news team in August, 2010. Prior to this, Derick graduated with degrees in both broadcast journalism and political science from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. Email/Follow on Twitter/ Full Story