ABBEVILLE, La. (KLFY) Vermilion Parish Schools Superintendent Tommy Byler and Abbeville Police Chief Mike Hardy are working together to ensure the safety of schools.

While the school board has the funds to get more school resource officers in place, the Abbeville Police Department is suffering from a police officer shortage. 

“We’re just going to continue encouraging our guys to show up when they have time. If they’re not busy, we are short-handed at the department, but if we’re not busy we will have them check out the schools regularly,” said Chief Hardy. 

The department needs 39 police officers to do all daily services to protect the community and currently there are 27 officers, therefore a need for 12 more officers exist.  

“We’re looking for people who qualify as police officers so we can get them post-certified. Once they’re post-certified, we will provide the accurate number for our patrol division. Then I can move my detectives back into being detectives.”

Chief Hardy says school resource officers will be at all schools during school hours, albeit may have to leave if the need arises elsewhere.  

“Police officers are stopping by daily to check on the schools. No certain times because we don’t want people to know when we are there and when we are not there.”  

As both parties look to get more people into the police department, Byler asks people to have patience. 

“We’re doing the best we can. We’re going to fix the problems as they come, and you just hope ultimately we get everything together because we gotta get back to educating our kids,” he said. 

The police department is taking applications