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Tregre: School safety includes permanently placed uniformed officers

School is back in session, finally! School buses are on the move.

Parents will be out and about driving to drop off and pick up kids at carpool. Some students are returning to school as first time drivers.

I will never forget the shock I felt the first time I saw my kids driving the opposite direction on Airline Highway. These were some exciting and nervous days.

As usual, SJSO will be directing school traffic at private and public schools. We will be looking for motorists who ignore posted school speed zones, are driving distracted or just plain unsafe techniques; and all at no cost to the school system as in our surrounding parishes.

We are preparing for an increase in traffic around the already congested areas of the plants. And of course, the excitement of traffic jams on Friday evenings for high school football.

Yes! We are ready.

Planning for the first day of school started about one week after the last day of school at the Sheriff’s Office. Parents, students, teachers and staff will soon see our officers in high visibility at all schools.

At the request of the school administration, we have assigned more officers to work as School Resource Officers. In this assignment, uniformed officers are permanently placed in schools for the duration of the school year.

They are prepared to partner with staff, as well as parents who might have information that can help us to prevent a harmful situation. Our officers stand ready to maximize the specialized training received to keep our schools safe.

In addition, the recent establishment of reserved parking spots for deputies at public and private schools helps our visibility and access to the buildings.

Everyone should be aware of the ever-changing challenges when it comes to protecting our children. The horrific incidents involving school shootings that have taken place in our country keep us on high alert.

Members of SJSO have participated in numerous training conferences and should be prepared for worst-case scenarios. We will continue to react and respond quickly to any information, tips or social media postings with as much focus and energy as we did the last school year.

After meeting and discussing school safety with other members of various law enforcement agencies, it is clear there is no clear cut solutions to stop school violence. However, there are multiple strategies and classified options aimed towards prevention.

There are no easy solutions to these concerns. There are no guarantees. We just have to be prepared.

To all of the students in St. John, the Sheriff’s Office wishes you a happy and successful school year. And officially, for the 2018 season, I have to say: Go Wildcats! Go Comets! Go Rams! Go Rebels! The escort to and from the Superdome is ready.

May God Bless St. John in the 2018-19 school year.

Mike Tregre is sheriff of St. John the Baptist Parish. Reach him at m.tregre@stjohnsheriff.org.