Denham Springs increases police presence in schools
DENHAM SPRINGS - There's more than just new students walking the halls in Denham Springs schools this year. City Council has approved of an additional school resource officer.
Before, there was only one officer taking on a total of six schools. That officer says the job was spreading her too thin.
“I would go to the junior high, freshman high and high school everyday, and the elementary schools at least once a week,” said Officer Susan Edwards. “But I tried to do more than that.”
In January, Officer Edwards was given the Denham Springs school resource officer position. At the time she was the only one on the job, but this school year she’s getting some relief.
“I think more policing could be possible,” said Mayor Gerard Landry. “With one person they get spread kind of thin.”
Mayor Landry says City Council and the Livingston Parish School Board struck up a deal, each paying $40,000, to hire an additional school resource officer. The two will handle three schools in the city a piece.
“Unless something happens they will never be in the same location at the same time,” said Landry.
The number of police officers in Denham Springs schools may continue to rise. The Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office is trying to get an officer in every school in the parish. But in order for that to happen, voters would have to approve of a half-cent sales tax on the upcoming November ballot.
“I hope it does [pass],” said Landry.
While in support of the tax increase, the Mayor said he didn't want to wait for the vote to beef up security in his schools.
“We prefer to be much more proactive and do what we can in advance of any potential disaster that can happen with kids in schools,” explained Landry.
For Officer Edwards, this means she'll have more time to make connections with the students she sees on a daily basis.
“I want to show them that I'm there to do more than just make arrests and be more than just a disciplinary figure,” said Edwards.
If voters pass the half cent sales tax, then that will take away the cost the city and school board is paying for the two school resource officers. In total, the money generated would create 50 SRO jobs to cover 45 campuses.