School resource officers decreasing threats in Lafayette Parish schools

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LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – The Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office and School Board says having school resource officers in schools, has decreased security threats tremendously.
 
Back in June, the Sheriff’s Office and School Board agreed on a contract to have armed school resource officers in every school in the Parish.
 
There’s also a number of individual agencies within the Parish, that still have officers in some schools.
The Sheriff’s Office says cooperation between all the agencies has one end goal of keeping students safe.
 
At Wednesday’s School Board meeting, the Command Staff from the School Resource Officer Program gave the Board updates on security incidents in the schools.
 
“We were able to give them specific instances where our office, accompanied by members of every law enforcement agency in the Parish that are involved in the School Resource Officer Program, were able to respond and investigate instances and incidents everywhere in the Parish,” said John Mowell, PIO with the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Office.
 
The Board budgeted about $4 million to have at least 1 SRO on every campus, all to increase safety and prevent threats.
 
“We’ve seen people walking up to SRO’s individually, and SRO’s actually develop a lot of tips. They’re engaging with the students everyday at the school, and develop these tips and and cyber threats that are made,” said Mowell.
 
The Sheriff’s Office manages the SRO Program because they’re the only department with jurisdictional authority throughout the entire Parish, to include all the municipalities.
 
“They’ve got a security division, high tech online investigative unit. They are identifying threats, they are going to homes in some cases and talking to parents about children,” said Dr. Donald Aguillard, Superintendent of Lafayette Parish Schools.
 
He says the level of security has been bolstered by the SRO presence.
 
“Each day they’re becoming more and more familiar with our campuses, they’re interacting with students and the whole situation is really outstanding for Lafayette,” said Aguillard.
 
In the coming weeks, the Sheriff’s Office along with the School Board will be releasing a ‘Student Protect App.’

The App will empower every student, family member or faculty member, to use their phone as a way to report any threats being made towards the schools.
 
Also at Wednesday night’s meeting, the Board directed the Superintendent’s Office to study the idea of not starting school until August 19, for the 2019-2020 school year.
This could mean reducing the number of days for holiday vacation.
 
We should know more from the School System in the coming weeks.

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