Livingston Parish Sheriff asks parents to 'let us do our jobs' amid reports of copycat threats
LIVINGSTON PARISH - Sheriff Jason Ard pleaded with parents to be patient as his agency investigates a series of what he referred to as "copycat threats" following the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
In a passionate Facebook post, Ard addressed Livingston Parish residents "as a father and your Sheriff." He said while he understood the need to "act" as a parent hearing or seeing something suspicious on social media, and the instinct to keep children safe, people in the area need to let the sheriff's department act appropriately.
"Let us do our jobs of serving and protecting you," Ard said in his post. "Those who make threats - empty threats or not - can face charges. And, believe me, I'll examine each case. I have open communication with our Livingston Parish leaders - including those in our school system."
Ard suggested parents who read of suspicious posts and threats on social media to assess the information carefully and contact the sheriff's office if they believe the threat is credible.
"Sharing information that you happen to come across - that has not been vetted - is dangerous," Ard said. "It causes chaos and panic. And, this could inundate our available resources. So, I'm asking you to please NOT share false information."
On Thursday, Live Oak Junior High shared information on reports of a threat to the school over Facebook. The post suggested the threat had been "addressed and disciplined," and that school will be safe. A spokesperson for the Livingston Parish School System said most of the information on threats they have received was through word-of-mouth from students and parents who overheard "inappropriate comments." The spokesperson suggested anyone who had credible information contact the sheriff's department and avoid posting details on social media.
Ard encouraged anyone who thinks they have information about a credible threat to contact the sheriff's department at 225-686-2241.