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|WM Rotary Club hosts deputy|
Chief Deputy Russell Describes Programs to Keep Students in School
Jay Russell, chief deputy of the Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Department, was a recent guest speaker at the West Monroe Rotary Club. Russell spoke on the efforts of the sheriff's department to keep people from dropping out of school.
"Education is the key to cutting down on juvenile crime," Russell said as he described several programs with which the sheriff's department works keep young people out of trouble and in school. He pointed out that the typical inmate at Green Oaks Detention Center has only ninth grade education. Lack of education is also characteristic of the adult jail population. Deputies who see students on the streets during school hours, give them a choice of school or Green Oaks Detention Center. They also work to get the parents involved.
In cooperation with school's, a sheriff's deputy is on duty as a resource officer at each high school in the parish. These deputies develop rapport with the students and the faculty. Together they work to solve problems and to develop crisis plans and evacuation plans.
A sheriff's department program for younger children is the HAT, or Horse-Assisted Training for children with autism. Area horse owners lend their horses for the children to ride; autistic children respond positively to the experience of riding a horse. The riding has a calming effect on them. This program has been very successful.
Russell emphasized that the sheriff's department is actively involved in encouraging young people to get an education. He has 25 years' experience in the sheriff's department, having started out in Union Parish and then worked with three Ouachita Parish sheriffs: Laymon Godwin, Richard Fewell, and Royce Toney.
Jay Russell, chief deputy of the Ouachita Parish Sheriff's Department, speaks to the West Monroe Rotary Club about the department's programs to encourage young people to get an education.