On Wednesday, the board will consider a proposal to increase the number of LPSS School Resource Officers from 24 to 65.
LPSS Chief Administrative Officer Joe Craig says in the proposed budget the school system has about $1.2 million set aside for school safety and SROs.
Craig says the plan to expand the SRO force could cost about $3 million dollars. “That’s a significant amount of money but I think it’s very important among the board that we have safe campuses with SROs available everywhere and in that time of need,” says Craig.
If approved, every LPSS School would get an SRO. Some campuses would get two officers such as: Lafayette High, Carencro High and L.J. Alleman Middle. “David Thibodaux has just one SRO but that school is at 1,000. Those bigger schools just need more support and would be additional SROs.”
Craig says the question of where the officers would come from is still being considered but in all likelihood they would come from municipalities and the sheriff’s office. “Once we get approval for that expansion we’ll start working with the municipalities and sheriff’s office to see what they can bring to the table; in addition to what the board can bring to the table,” adds Craig.
Lafayette Parish Sheriff Mark Garber says studies show active shooters canvass sites they intend to attack. Sheriff Garber says a trained armed officer on a school campus can be a deterrent. “We see them conducting pre-attack activity in certain cases. We noticed that they will shy away from areas where there’s a visible police presence.”
The other schools that would get two officers are Acadiana, Southside, Comeaux and Northside High Schools.