Polk County school bus driver charged for repeatedly damaging onboard video system

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POLK COUNTY, FL _ Polk County Sheriff’s deputies arrested 47-year-old Vernorris Rambow of Kissimmee, a Polk County Public Schools school bus driver, on Friday, January 21, 2022, for one count felony criminal mischief (F3) after he repeatedly damaged the video surveillance system hard drive on his bus. He was released from the Polk County Jail after posting $1,000 bond.

According to the affidavit, the investigation began earlier this month when Polk County Public Schools suspected Rambow of damaging the system on four separate occasions:

  • In September 2021, PCPS received a complaint regarding Rambow, and sent a specialist to retrieve the video from the on-board camera. The video could not be retrieved due to the fact that the hard drive and wires were damaged. The hard drive was replaced.
  • In November 2021, PCPS received a complaint from a parent whose child rides the bus, regarding bullying by other students. They sent another safety specialist to retrieve video – again there was no video due to the same type of damage to the video system hard drive and wires. The hard drive was replaced.
  • In January 2022, Rambow’s supervisor had a heated phone conversation with him while he was on the bus. She sent a specialist to retrieve the video evidence of the conversation for disciplinary reasons, and again the system was damaged, and no video existed. It was again replaced.
  • After the third incident, PCPS suspected Rambow was intentionally damaging the hard drives; his supervisor told him that another complaint was received and that they were going to retrieve video from the bus. No video existed due to the same type of damage to the hard drive.
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PCPS contacted PCSO for an investigation. Detectives interviewed Rambow, who eventually admitted to them that he had damaged all four hard drives because he “did not want to get in trouble at work.” At this time it does not appear that Rambow damaged the equipment to avoid any other crime being committed on the bus, but the investigation is ongoing. PCPS advised that each hard drive is worth $360, with total damage equaling $1,440. A felony criminal mischief charge is appropriate due to the extent of the damage totaling more than $1,000.

“This is a shame – this school bus driver might have faced some discipline at work due to some complaints, but now he’s facing a felony conviction and may be out of a job. The children on his bus were better behaved than he was. We hope he’s learned his lesson.” – Grady Judd, Sheriff