Sheriff Ronny Richardson is pictured with Sabine Parish School Resource Officers.
The level of concern about school security and school safety is at an all-time high. School Resource Officers have been around for decades but many people had not even heard of them until the last couple of years.
School Resource Officers, commonly known as SRO’s, are full-sworn law enforcement officers. Successful SRO programs are collaborative efforts between skilled law enforcement, school boards, educators, students, parents and community to offer educational programs in the school, reduce crime, violence, drug abuse and contribute to an overall safe school environment.
“If you love law enforcement and children, being a school resource officer should be something you consider”, commented Steven Myers of the Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Department. Myers has spent the last 8 years working in the Sabine Parish School system, the last 3 as a School Resource officer. Sheriff Ronny Richardson and the Sabine Parish Sheriff’s office is proud to have a collaborative agreement with the Sabine Parish School District which places an SRO at each school.
“Developing rapport with students is also important”, Myers added. “If a student trusts you, they will come to you in a crisis. Sometimes, as SRO’s, we are alerted to incidents of abuse, impending fights and situations that could become critical.” Myers added that SRO’s are not only present to protect the students and staff, but are also there to serve as positive role models for students. Sometimes, there is no other positive role model in the student’s life.
Officer Lavon White interacts with Many High School students.
A former teacher, Sabine Parish Sheriff Ronny Richardson currently has 7 deputies in his department assigned to Sabine schools. Three of those function as Substance Abuse Prevention Education (DARE) Officers, and all serve as School Resource Officers. Richardson’s goals for this relatively newly initiated program in the parish include: helping to provide a safe learning environment in Sabine Parish Schools, fostering positive relationships with young people and the Sabine Parish Sheriff’s Department, developing strategies to resolve problems affecting our youth, and protecting all students so they can reach their full potential. Richardson indicated that each SRO has a daily routine that includes conducting school walk through security assessments and monitoring problem areas of the schools.
In addition to providing instruction to the students, the SRO provides security during school hours and after school special events on campus such as athletic events. The SRO assists school administrators in emergency crisis planning and security matters and works to prevent juvenile delinquency through close contact and positive relationships with students.
When asked about his thoughts on placing SRO’s in Sabine Parish Schools, Sheriff Richardson stated: “Although it’s something we don’t like to think about, recent events have mandated that we increase safety measures in our schools. Our children and grandchildren are precious to us all. We should and will do whatever it takes to protect them.”
SRO Daniel Racca poses with a group of Many Elementary students.