Yesterday, Sheriff John Ballance confirmed on the Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Department Facebook page that “as of November 30, 2021 the Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Office is terminating its agreement with the Bienville Parish School Board to provide School Resource Officers (Deputy Sheriffs) at the six schools in Bienville Parish. Rumors are floating around that the Sheriff’s Office is short on personnel but that is entirely false. We have a full complement of patrol, narcotics, and criminal investigators and have hired two new deputies with prior law enforcement experience and currently have two deputies in POST training.”
Sheriff Ballance said that “In August of 2014, the original agreement provided that the School Board pay approximately $133,000 per year for three [School Resource Officers] while the Sheriff’s Office would fund the other three.”
The Sheriff said “we have a situation where the sheriff’s office is paying out approximately $638,000 per year minus the school board’s funding which leaves the sheriff’s share at $505,000 for 2019-2020. After speaking with several other north Louisiana sheriffs, I was informed that some school boards were providing 100 percent funding for SROs and others as much as 50 percent. The original agreement from 2014 was with Superintendent William Britt and a new contract needed to be signed by the new Superintendent William Wysinger. I proposed that the new contract require the school board to increase their funding to $300,000, which is a little less than half the total project. It appears that the superintendent is searching for other ways to provide school safety officers and that’s the school board’s prerogative. I am still open to discussion if all else fails, but I am quite sure that the Sheriff’s Office SRO program is the best alternative for the teachers and students of Bienville Parish.”
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