LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) In light of the deadly school shooting in Nashville on Monday, and the threat at Acadiana High school on Tuesday, Lafayette Parish Sheriff Mark Garber wants to assure the community that his office is prepared.

Garber says hope is not a method nor a technique to solve a problem and says being prepared for an active shooter requires preparing over and over; “redundancy equals preparedness,” he said.

In 2018 the sheriff’s office conceived a robust School Resource Officer (SRO) program that provides not just mentorship and guidance, but safety to staff and students.

“So good luck to an active shooter getting into a school where you’re not going to be confronted by a trained peace officer,” Garber said.

The SRO’s have come to be the envy of other school districts and the sheriff says there’s no gap in coverage.

“We do not leave schools unattended. We do not allow SRO’s to leave the schools for personal errands or to eat lunch.  They are there and if they can’t be there because life happens, they have kids that have to go to the doctors when they get sick; we have extra personnel that’s built into the budget that will fill in.”

That’s 52 schools with SRO presence in Lafayette Parish; 6 are private schools.  The personnel totals over eighty SRO’s in the program.

“We have dedicated personnel that monitor the different channels that we monitor; to get wind of things that are going on .  I’m trying not to be vague but I have to be vague about our techniques and procedures,” Garber added.

He says they have their antennas up at all times.

For example, Garber explains the Lafayette Sheriff’s Office’s Real Time Crime Center is the first to link into a school system and intergrade school system cameras  into a real-time crime center.

They can see in real time inside a school.

“We have the intelligence systems, we have the technology system and we have the boots on the ground.”

Those boots are trained every year in ALERT which is the national standard for active shooter training. 

Even in his academy the Acadiana Law Enforcement Training Academy (ALETA}, which his office is chartered to run through the state, new recruits are trained.

“So we are producing these peace officers even if they’re not going to work in a school,” sheriff Garber noted.