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St. Landry Sheriff Plans to Discuss Campus Security With School Officials

Editor and Contributing Writer

Photograph: St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby J. Guidroz addresses a crown at a peach rally Saturday in Opelousas’ North City Park. (Photograph by Freddie Herpin.)

St. Landry Parish Sheriff Bobby J. Guidroz is concerned about school campus safety and he is indicating that he plans to propose a plan for improved security for discussion with District officials.

Guidroz, whose Department has approved several contracts that supply resource officers for rural parish public schools, says he wants to do move as quickly as possible to protect the collective school environment and limit classroom access entrance.

His initial plan according to Guidroz, who spoke to a small crowd at a peace rally Saturday in Opelousas’ North City Park, will limit threats that may currently exist in individual  classrooms, provide more security cameras at school sites, and train personnel who would monitor entrances to school buildings.

Guidroz notes that state law also provides law enforcement with greater authority to enable the locking of classroom doors. Guidroz also thinks there should be existing state funding available for some of the enhancements the plans to propose to school officials.

School officials are scheduled to meet June 2 and Guidroz said that he expects to be placed on the meeting agenda in order to inform School Board members what he has in mind regarding school safety.

Also on the June 2 meeting agenda is a May 26 Executive Committee decision which has authorized Superintendent Patrick Jenkins to negotiate a contract with the Sheriff’s Department to provide school resource officers based at Northwest, Beau Chene and North Central high schools.

Jenkins estimates that if approved the District will pay the Sheriff’s Department $82,000 during the next school session to provide at least one officer at the three schools.

The discussion at the May 26 Executive Committee meeting however failed to provide details about how the proposed contract uses school resource officers at rural elementary schools.

While the Sheriff’s Department will be tasked with providing the resource officers with training, the officers assigned to the rural schools won’t be considered School District employees, Jenkins said at the committee meetings.

Jenkins also provided the Committee with details about employing officers at schools inside incorporated areas.

In Opelousas the School Board voted to pay a resource officer at Opelousas High and Opelousas Junior High. Jenkins added that the police department is currently understaffed with officers. The District is also using City Marshal officers to assist with campus security for the Opelousas schools, Jenkins said.

The Eunice Police Department does not supply officers for schools in that city, Jenkins mentioned.