Ascension Parish unveils school safety plan

GONZALES, LA (WAFB) - Cops on campus, that is what the sheriff in Ascension Parish says is the new plan for school safety. After the Sandy Hook school massacre in Connecticut, school board leaders and law enforcement leaders in Ascension wanted to make sure their students are protected.

In December, the day of the school shooting, Sheriff Jeff Wiley says he sent deputies to every school in the parish. Deputies were at schools until students went on winter break.

Thousands of students are in and out of schools there five days a week. According to Wiley, that's more than 20% of the population there and the safety of those students is of great importance. Superintendent Patrice Pujol agrees and says the school system recently brought onboard a security consultant to improve student safety.

"We have video cameras on all our high school campuses now," Pujol said. "They're being installed at middle and primary."

That is just one piece of a new three part plan to address security and safety on campus. Monday, Sheriff Wiley introduced a new plan to introduce school security officers.

"That's an officer on campus that is better trained, has higher speed - literally and physically, a better marksman with handguns and better equip with firearms frankly," said Wiley.

16 deputy sheriff's who all had to meet high standards will start the new security detail on April 1, 2013. They will shadow current resource officers at the parishes high schools.

Those additional officers will rotate between campuses every two weeks.

"We want them moving," said Wiley. "Not unlike they would be on a special detail, expecting trouble which we do on many occasions."

Then, beginning on the first day of school next year, an additional four full-time officers will be brought on to cover the primary and middle schools.

"A blue and white unit parked at that school and a man or woman trained with a weapon at that school, in uniform."

Those four full-time officers will not answer any calls outside of school grounds.

The sheriff says with this plan, he'd rather be overly prepared -just in case something were to ever happen at one of the parishes schools.

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