By: Brooke Shirley
Sabine Parish Sheriff Ronny Richardson and Dr. Sara Ebarb, the Superintendent of Sabine Parish Schools, announced the implementation of a School Resource Officer Program in Sabine Parish Schools for the 2017-18 school year.
Statistics indicate that more than 90 percent of resource officers avert between 1-25 violent acts in the average school year. Studies have found that 24 percent of officers in schools across the nation reported taking a loaded firearm from a student or another person on campus, and 87 percent confiscated knives or other weapons with blades. Sixty-seven percent reported preventing a school faculty or staff member from being assaulted, either by a student or someone else on campus.
Kenneth S. Trump stated, “The description of preventive tasks performed and the number of violent incidents prevented by officers says to me that SRO programs must be viewed as prevention programs, not as punitive or reactionary strategies. The data also clearly indicates that students are comfortable in reporting threats and concerns to SROs.” Kenneth is the president of National School Safety and Security Services.
The Sabine Parish School Resource Officers, Lamar Thomas, Steven Myers and Jimmy Campbell, are fully trained and certified. The three of them will not only ensure safety at the schools but will also function as Substance Abuse Prevention Education (DARE) instructors for students in 5th and 7th grade under the DARE program. Their salaries will be funded by a DARE grant.
The goal is to foster a safe learning environment and help to resolve any potential problems that affect our youth so that they have a better opportunity to reach their full potential. Sheriff Richardson is hopeful that the officers will become a positive presence in students’ lives and form the trust needed to develop a better relationship between the students and the Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Department.