Last Modified: Tuesday, March 12, 2013 9:54 AM
OBERLIN — Full-time school resource officers, or SROs, could be in place in all Allen Parish public schools by January, if voters approve a measure to fund the program.
The Allen Parish School Board voted unanimously Monday to call a May 4 election to ask voters to approve a 10-year, 7.5 property tax to provide school resource officers in all 11 parish schools.
“This gives an opportunity to the people to decide on the safety of our schools,” Superintendent Michael Doucet said.
The millage, which is expected to generate about $630,000 a year, will be paid by property owners not covered by homestead exemption.
A homeowner with a home of $100,000 would pay $18.75 a year, according to Assessor Richard Earl. Those homeowners with property valued under $75,000 would not have to pay under the state’s homestead exemption law.
The money would be used to hire, train and equip the officers, to fund vehicles, and to install surveillance cameras and other safety upgrades in schools, Doucet said.
The program will cost the parish about $500,000 a year.
“I believe the school resource officers can be a positive in our schools,” Doucet said. “They are not a guarantee there won’t be any tragic incidents, but it will deter many things from happening.”
If approved by voters in May, the program could begin by January 2014.
The specially trained law enforcement officers would be present during the school day and for after school activities,including sporting events, dances and meetings.
The officers will be much more than security guards, according to Sheriff Doug Hebert III, who presented plans for the program last month.
He said the officers could play the role of an educator, counselor, mentor and a police liaison, while providing increased safety and security for schools.
Posted By: Bill Johnson On: 3/13/2013
Title: Student speaks out....
Wow...I am so impressed that a student from Allen Parish is concerned enough to voice his/her opinion!!! Hopefully that sends a very loud message about how some students feel. They need to feel safe & secure at school, but obviously, some don't. Can't say I blame them with all the craziness going on today. If having a school resource officer makes students feel safe, isn't it worth the money????
Posted By: Bon Qwee Owee 12 year old from Allen Parish On: 3/13/2013
Title: Help us please!!!!!
I think that officers in school is a teriffic idea. We really need law enforcment in the schools to give us someone to protect and help us feel safe. I know at my school we really need to have officers because I think it would really make an impact on the behavior in some students. I also think if we have them that most students wouldn't get away with thing as easily as they do and they wouldn't think of doing the things they do. I really hope that we get officers at schools and that people encourage the idea.
Posted By: Darrell !!!!! On: 3/13/2013
Title: Fan of Suzanne Manuel
Hi Suzanne, I love your comment. You are actually correct and I love your comment of "Isn't it worth having and never needing than needing and not having?!?!?" So Kool!!!!! Vote 4 the protection of your children and teachers in Allen Parish.
Posted By: Suzanne Manuel On: 3/13/2013
Sounds like the people of Allen Parish just need to be informed of what a millage consists of and just how little it will cost the majority of the citizens. Still, even businesses & large property owners should be for this proposal. Surely they have family members in the educational system, whether it's students or teachers. Even if they don't, why wouldn't they want to protect innocent lives from dangerous situations that have the potential of happening? Isn't it worth paying a little now to deter the kind of events that take innocent lives?? And who knows...maybe they'll never have to use their officer in that capacity, but they'll have one in place if they do. Isn't it worth having and never needing than needing and not having?!?!? Please think before you vote Allen Parish!!!!!
Posted By: Mr Confused On: 3/13/2013
According to the article, the millage tax will "generate $630K" but then it read the program will take "$500K" a year. What are they going to do with the extra $130K surplus?
Posted By: someone who cares On: 3/13/2013
First off, I want to congratulate the dignitaries of Allen Parish for making this attempt to protect their teachers and children. I read this awesome article and notice the town of "Oberlin" is where all the meeting is probably taking place. But wasn't Oberlin in the news recently about some parent who came to the school and beat-up a teen-age girl and several of their teachers on their campus? School Officer needed in Allen Parish...Really?
Posted By: Joseph-from Iowa On: 3/13/2013
Title: Protect Your Kids and Teachers.
With all the weird and crazy things going around in our country these days, I don't see why anyone wouldn't want to vote or pay to protect their children or teachers. I thank God for ALL the officers in majority of our Calcasieu schools. I just wish they will start puting some in our elementaries schools. After Sandy Hook, we just might see that in Calcasieu Parish. Thanks Cal !!!!!!
Posted By: Tyrone Blanchard On: 3/13/2013
Title: Our home
We don't realize how disarray our house is, until we look out the window and see our neighbor's house. "Our house is safe, protected and clean. " Thanks Calcasieu School Board, Lake Charles Police and Calcasieu Sheriff Office for protecting our schools, citizen, children and staff. Vote YES Allen Parish !!!!!!
Posted By: Kathleen LeBlanc from Lake Charles La On: 3/13/2013
Title: Loving Calcasieu Parish
I have been keeping up with this latest news regarding our neighboring parish of Allen Parish trying to place School Resource Officers in their school in the year of 2013. This puzzled me because I thought nearly every parish had Officers in their schools. As long as I can remember, at least over 10 years or more, Calcasieu Parish had officers in our schools for the safety and security of our children and staff. Our School Board and Sheriff Dept. collaborated their efforts to make it happen for the safety of our children and school staff. I know Allen Parish can't compare to our collection of tax base but I feel our local government do try using the funds in a positive way. We all may not agree with what they use it for at times, but when you make decision to protect, serve, educate and save the life, limb and property of someones' love one or property, it is well worth it. Regarding the Allen Parish millage tax, those who are tax exempt are free from paying any taxes towards this, and those who will have to pay will probably pay less than the bill ($20) of President Andrew Jackson just to protect their children and teachers...is money well spent. Thank you Calcasieu Parish for protect ours. I'm really loving this parish more and more!!!!
Posted By: Renee Sonnier On: 3/13/2013
I totally agree!! I have family members that are school board employees. With everything going on these days, having officers in school is a must. I worry about my children when they're not with me, even when they're at school. It is too easy for some crazed person to get a gun or act out physically against people in a school. I just hope one day that the school my children attend will follow the lead of Allen Parish. A few dollars a month + safe children @ school = happy parents!! Children deserve to feel safe, especially at school. Wish I lived in Allen Parish...they definitely have my vote!!!!!!
Posted By: Tre from Lake Charles On: 3/12/2013
Title: Finally!!!! A place who is concern about their future.
I would like to take this opportunity to commend the Allen Parish Sheriff Office and the Allen Parish School Board for taking the initiative to protect their children and teachers within their parish. Regardless if they are requesting a tax or not, people of Allen Parish needs to realize its a GREAT program and one of the #1 deterrence factor. We pay taxes for issues that don't make sense or are pointless at times. This is a no brainer. Less than $20 to protect a child or a teacher is very worth it. We spend such amount on useless items all the time but paying $20 to protect a child or a teacher is far fetch worth it. In this day and age, our world has changed tremendously with people of mental illness and unstable mind. Having an Officer in schools to help educate, counsel, mentor and most of all....PROTECT is worth it. Wake Up Allen Parish.....this is a plus!!!!