After reviewing the police report filed by the Hastings City Police Department, the Barry County Prosecutor’s Office has declined to issue criminal charges against a Barry County Transit bus driver, according to a news release from the prosecutor’s office. The driver was alleged to have spanked a child on the bus, which gave rise to the complaint.
Transit Director Bill Voigt has read the report and said: “I’m grateful for the independent, professional investigations by the police department and the prosecutor’s office as well.”
Prosecutor Julie Nakfoor-Pratt met with the child’s parents to discuss her decision and address a concern shared by the parents, prosecutor and police; the need for cameras on the buses, that would benefit passengers and drivers.
Voigt agrees and said they have already had one demonstration by a camera system company, and, "will be looking at others," with an eye to cost and effectiveness. He will bring his recommendation on a camera system to the transit oversight board, which includes Hastings businessman Ken Radant and Barry County Commissioners Howard “Hoot” Gibson and Jon Smelker.
“The concerns in this case do not end with the denial of criminal charges,” Nakfoor-Pratt said. “I thank the parents for taking the time to meet with me and discuss the case and the reasons for my decision. They have kept an open mind and, like any parent, they are looking out for their child’s welfare.
“They also wanted to be a part of a change that they felt would benefit the community. I also want to thank Mr. Voigt for his time and consideration toward making positive changes within the Barry County Transit Authority.”