Safety Spotlight 

Safety Grants Awarded for 2020-2021 Regional School Zone Safety Initiative 

The State of Nevada Department of Public Safety, Office of Traffic Safety awarded grants to Reno Police Department, Sparks Police Department, and Washoe County School District to support their participation in the 2020-2021 Regional School Zone Safety Initiative. The initiative will increase enforcement and education efforts for both pedestrians and drivers regarding school zone safety. The goal is to reduce the number of school zone crashes and move towards Nevada’s goal of zero fatalities.

This grant was a result of a devastating 2019/2020 school year for Washoe County School District. Between March, when the COVID-19 school closures began, and August, 31 injury crashes involving students traveling to or from school occurred. Three of those were major injury crashes, and one was a hit-and-run crash involving a pedestrian, which resulted in the death of a 14-year-old Wooster High School student.

Reno Police Department coordinated with Sparks Police Department and Washoe County School District to apply together for a grant from the Office of Traffic Safety for the Regional School Zone Safety Initiative. Nevada Highway Patrol Northeast Command also wanted to assist and were awarded funds as well. Participating agencies intend to utilize the funding for enforcement, education, and equipment. The partnering agencies are tracking information regarding school zone crashes across jurisdictions, and are currently testing some new techniques for information sharing. Shared data among the agencies allows all jurisdictions to track all crashes in the school district’s school zones, as well as school-related traffic complaints. This aids in a targeted, focused effort for deploying enforcement resources on municipal roads, as well as identifying issues for future education and engineering efforts.

Partner agencies are working closely with Washoe County School District Police Department Safe Routes Coordinator MJ Cloud to assist in meeting the district’s educational goals, particularly that all kids in the district can get to and from school safely.

Traffic Education Event at Mamie Towles Elementary School