Bienville sheriff’s office terminates SRO agreement with school district

Louisiana

BIENVILLE PARISH, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Office has announced they will end their agreement with the Bienville Parish School Board to provide the district’s schools with School Resource Officers.

In an announcement Tuesday night on their Facebook page, the Sheriff’s Office explained that they will not provide SROs to the six schools in Bienville Parish anymore because they are ending their previous agreement with the school board.

“Rumors are floating around that the SO 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,” Sherrif John Ballance said in the post.

“In August of 2014, the original agreement provided that the School Board pay approximately $133,000 per year for three SROs while the SO would fund the other three. Fast forward to 2021, and 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.”

Since 2014, he learned from other sheriffs in Louisiana that they are paying much more out of pocket than other departments.

“I was informed that some school boards were providing 100 percent funding for SROs and others as much as 50 percent.”

He says the original agreement was made with previous Superintendent William Britt. When it was time to sign a new contract with incoming Superintendent William Wysinger, Sheriff Ballance says he tried to renegotiate the terms.

Ballance said he requested that the board pay $300,000. That would account for less than half of what the sheriff’s office has been paying out of pocket but would be more than double what the board has been paying.

According to Ballance, the board has not agreed and they are looking into other options.

“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,” said Ballance.

The school district has not responded to the announcement.

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