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From the Sheriff: Remember to drive safely around school buses

Sheriff Barry Virts

The area 10 feet around a school bus is where children are in the most danger of being hit. Stop your car far enough from the bus to allow children the necessary space to safely enter and exit the bus.

Children walking to or from their bus are usually very comfortable with their surroundings. This makes them more likely to take risks, ignore hazards or fail to look both ways when crossing the street. Children are unpredictable. Leave for your destination a little earlier to avoid being rushed with the increased traffic and several stops of school buses. Concentrate on your driving when driving and be alert.

It is illegal and very dangerous to pass a stopped school bus when the large red lights located on top of the bus are flashing. Flashing lights mean the bus is picking up or discharging students. You must always stop for flashing red lights, even on divided and multilane highways and on school grounds. Also, you must stop whether you are approaching the school bus from the front or overtaking it from the rear.

The first-time fine for illegally passing a school bus is a $250-$400 fine, five points on your license and/or possibly 30 days in jail. Please drive with caution!

Deputy sheriffs Dean Barnes, Michael Gonsenhauser, Richard LaMark III, Hannah Peterson, John Phillips III, Anthony Skerrett, Emilie Soliday, Mark Warters and Seth Welch graduated from the Finger Lakes Law Enforcement Academy on Aug. 31. Deputies will be partnered with a field training officer for the next three months for further training before being released to work independently.

A special thanks to the instructors from several agencies, and particularly from the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, for their instructing expertise and efforts. The Finger Lakes Law Enforcement Academy is so successful because of the leadership of director David Christler, and the collaborative work of the sheriffs and police chiefs in Cayuga, Livingston, Ontario, Seneca, Wayne and Yates counties.

Kenneth Miller, chairman of the Wayne County Board of Supervisors, and Jon Verkey, chairman of the Wayne County Public Safety Committee, proclaim Sept. 20-26 as Sheriff’s Week in Wayne County recognizing the Office of Sheriff as a constitutionally empowered entity directly responsible to the people and accountable to the public it serves. The Sheriff’s Week proclamation will be presented at the Tuesday, Sept. 15, Board of Supervisors meeting.

The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office and Wayne County government will be working to address Gov. Cuomo’s Executive Order No. 203 through community engagement, planning, listening and learning, and with public comments. Each week, I will release via Facebook (“Wayne County Sheriff’s Office”), Twitter (@SheriffVirts and @WayneCoSheriff) our website (, and by press releases information specific to the Sheriff’s Office police services operations to inform you on how the Sheriff’s Office functions.

Please continue to wash your hands, cough into your elbow, don’t touch your face, social distance staying 6 feet apart and stay home if you are sick. Wear a mask when you cannot social distance!

In July 2020, 17 males and one female were committed to the jail facility. There were 22 transports, 2,987 inmate meals served, and $4,101.41 collected from eight inmates released on bail and fines. Inmates worked 1,329 hours of labor in laundry, facility cleaning and food service.

The Jail Facility boarded one inmate from the Cayuga County Sheriff’s Office, and secured one parole violator and three inmates that were ready for transfer to state prison.

Court security officers cleared 1,602 people entering the Hall of Justice through the magnetometer, securing one contraband item similar to Transportation Security Administration airport security — firearms, ammunition, knives, scissors, cell phones, glass bottles, umbrellas, helmets, hand tools, etc.

Deputies traveled 112,196 miles on patrol, investigating 69 motor vehicle collisions in which 13 people were injured, 53 crash investigations, two missing persons, 21 animal complaints, 1,821 miscellaneous complaints, 454 minor crimes, eight major crimes, seven fire investigations, and 673 other complaints. Deputies issued 396 traffic tickets, seven DWIs and made 150 violation, misdemeanor and felony arrests, plus 29 mental health arrests.

The Civil Office processed 41 legal papers and 88 Family Court orders, received $125,159.22 and paid out $123,212.55 to creditors. This month, $9,639.53 was remitted to the County Treasurer’s Office for the general fund.

Wayne County law enforcement charged 21 people with DWI: seven by the Sheriff’s Office and 14 by New York State Police. Please drink responsibly!

Court security supervisor Dawn Pisciotti assisted Monroe County with its promotional process. As of March 12, all schools, training and business travel are suspended until the COVID-19 state of emergency ends.

Correction Officer Scott McLouth completed 30 years of service, Correction Officer Matthew Santell completed five years of service, and deputies Thomas Munzert and Felicia Stevens each completed five years of service. I salute Scott, Matthew, Thomas and Felicia for their service.

Search Wayne County NY Sheriff to download the mobile app onto your smartphone or tablet. It is available free of charge from the iTunes and Google Play (Android) app stores. The new app will help Wayne County citizens stay tuned to important information from the Sheriff’s Office. After downloading the app onto your smartphone, you can receive alerts, news and resources.

If you see something, say something. Call 911 to report any suspicious activity. Social media is used to inform you of events and arrests that would be released to the media, but timelier to keep you informed. Social media sites are not used as an official communication tool. Concerns and inquiries should be directed to me by calling (315) 946-5797, by emailing or mailing Sheriff Barry Virts, 7376 state Route 31, Suite 1000, Lyons, NY, 14489. If you have a complaint that is an emergency or time sensitive, call 911 to have law enforcement respond immediately.

Visit us at our social media sites, Facebook page “Wayne County Sheriff’s Office,” Twitter accounts @SheriffVirts and @WayneCoSheriff and Load the free MobilePatrol App on your smartphone for a one stop resource for all WCSO information.

Please contact me at (315) 946-5797 or at with any questions or concerns you may have.