Our children are our future. We owe it to the family members, and their children alike, to make sure these kids arrive to and from their destinations safely.Lt. Adam Winters, KHP public information officer
Newly minted Kansas Highway Patrol trooper Kelon Parr stood in the parking lot outside the Unified School District 428 office Friday morning, studying a black-and-red Panther activity bus.
He reflected on day ahead, a day filled with inspecting any and all school vehicles in the area that transport kids. “There are a lot of school buses in Barton County,” he said.
Indeed there are many for Parr to see. The Great Bend district alone has 14 buses and 18 other cars and vans.
Statewide, in 2017, the KHP inspected 11,797 such vehicles from public and private schools, Since 2010, the number is 85,848.
“We have to do this every year before school starts,” Parr said. In fact, no vehicle can haul kids around until it has been KHP approved and has a new sticker in the lower left-hand corner of its windshield (this year’s stickers are blue).
Every July and August, KHP troopers, in conjunction with school districts across the state, check all school buses to ensure they are in good working order, said Lt. Adam Winters, KHP public information officer. Sometimes, these inspections can take into September to complete.
Troopers will check the buses to make sure the vehicles will load, transport, and unload students safely. A few of the things troopers will be checking are the emergency exits, the lights, emergency exits, tires, windshield wipers, fire extinguishers, first aid kits, and emergency spill kits.
Vehicles that do not comply with safety regulations cannot be used to transport students until all defects are corrected and a trooper rechecks the vehicle, Winters said.
“Our children are our future. We owe it to the family members, and their children alike, to make sure these kids arrive to and from their destinations safely,” Winters said. “By partnering with these school districts across Kansas, we can ensure that we are taking the proper steps to keep Kansas children safe.”
Back to Great Bend, “everything here is fine,” Parr said. “They are all very professional.”
As for Parr, he is a Macksville native who just completed all of his KHP training. He is the newest trooper stationed in Great Bend which falls under the Patrol’s Wichita-based Troop F.