Officials to assign 4 more deputies to Livingston schools

Livingston Parish’s School Board and Sheriff’s Office have agreed in principle to post four additional sheriff’s deputies in the district’s schools.

A cooperative endeavor agreement finalizing the deal is being drafted and will be brought to the School Board for final approval, Superintendent John Watson said Thursday.

The Sheriff’s Office and School Board will split the costs of providing five sheriff’s deputies — four new officers and one currently patrolling Watson schools — for the district, according to the board’s unanimous vote Thursday.

The estimated annual cost per deputy is $80,000, Sheriff Jason Ard has said, making the total cost to the school district $200,000 per year.

The School Board’s share will come from the district’s general fund, the board decided.

The four new deputies will join three other school resource officers — commissioned law enforcement officers assigned to provide full-time security for a school or group of schools — currently patrolling schools in Denham Springs, Walker and Watson.

The Denham Springs and Walker officers are members of their respective police departments, provided at each department’s expense, while the Watson officer is a sheriff’s deputy currently paid for solely by the Sheriff’s Office.

The four new deputies will all be senior law enforcement personnel, including a couple of Drug Abuse Resistance Education officers who already are familiar with the schools and principals, Ard said Thursday.

The deputies will begin working in the schools July 1, he said.

The School Board’s Budget and Goals Committee on Tuesday recommended approval of the arrangement for one year, with reassessment of the program occurring after one semester and annually thereafter if continued.

Other business coming before the School Board included:

REAPPORTIONMENT: The U.S. Department of Justice has asked the School Board for additional information regarding what the population of each board member’s district would have been if the boundaries had been left alone, rather than adjusted through redistricting after the 2010 census.

Board attorney Tom Jones received board approval to hire a consultant who can provide the electronic mapping tools necessary to answer the Justice Department’s questions.