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Retired BRPD deputy chief named head of EBR school security

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BATON ROUGE - Retired BRPD Deputy Chief Robert McGarner has been named the new head of security for the East Baton Rouge Parish School System.

This hiring comes almost two years after McGarner's retirement in October 2020. The Baton Rouge native spent 32 years with BRPD—much of that time spent investigating homicides—and served as deputy chief. 

"Well, I'm back," McGarner exclaimed during his introductory press conference Thursday afternoon.

People magazine profiled McGarner following the 2016 death of Alton Sterling, who was shot and killed by one of McGarner's fellow officers. The piece on McGarner also came after the deaths of three local law enforcement officers who were ambushed on Airline Highway less than two weeks later.

McGarner called for communal improvement and unity amid the fallout.

“At the end of the day, we all bleed the same," McGarner said at the time. "We’re all children of God. We have to put this stuff aside, so we can bring the city back the way it needs to be. We’re going to get better. I pray to God we’re going to get better.”

This mindset spurred McGarner to step up during a surge in Baton Rouge homicides in November of 2018. He gave his "undivided attention," reassigning officers to increase police presence and counter the surge, making him one of the faces of the homicide division.

"We believe he will be an asset to our team and a role model to our young people,” EBR Superintendent Sito Narcisse, Ed.D., said in statement.

McGarner, eager to continue serving his community, has big plans to address crime before it seeps into the classroom.

"We're gonna do a one-mile radius around each one of these schools, the middle schools and the high schools, and we're gonna do a risk assessment on what major crimes are happening between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.," McGarner said. "We can prioritize where our hotspots are at, from the hottest one to the coldest one."

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