Allen Parish Sheriff's Office pushing for resource officers in p - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Allen Parish Sheriff's Office pushing for resource officers in public schools

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OBERLIN, LA (KPLC) -

At this week's Allen Parish School Board meeting, Sheriff Doug Hebert Jr. and the Allen Parish Sheriff's Office proposed a joint venture between the two agencies that would place one "school resource officer" at each of the parish's 11 schools.

"With recent events like the Sandy Hook shooting and other tragedies all around the country, protecting our kids is the most important," Hebert said.

According to Hebert, the officers would be more than just a patrolling, armed guard presence. He said they would be trained in first aid response and would work in tandem with school officials in extra-curricular activities.

"We have two officers running DARE right now," Hebert said. "By having an officer in each school, they can oversee that program and others that will benefit the whole community."

Having these additional officers costs money, roughly around $550,000 per year. That's why Hebert said the joint plan would be a win-win situation for the Sheriff's office - being paid for their services - and the school board paying for services that will protect their students, faculty and staff.

All of the money would not come solely from the school board, officials said. Allen Parish residents may also have a penny in the program's success.

"The next step is for the school board to approve the resolution," Hebert said. "After it's approved, then it will be placed on the May 4 ballot for Allen Parish residents to vote on whether or not they approve a millage to help fund the program."

Hebert estimates somewhere between 6.5 and 8 mills is what will be settled upon for residents to vote on. In simpler terms, he said:

"If you own a house worth $140,000 then you'll be paying about $45 a year. That's not bad when that money is going to protect your kids," he said.

Hebert also debunked the myth that rural areas don't experience tragedies like those we've recently seen on the national level.

Newtown's population, according to the 2010 U.S. Census, is just over 27,000. The population of Allen Parish according to the 2000 U.S. Census is just over 25,000.

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