The Sheriff's Office, in partnership with parish school systems, were recognized by the National School Board Association for its work to protect residents from tragedy by creating a program to defend against an active shooter.
The School Safety Advocacy Council's National School Safety Award recognizes individuals, agencies and districts that go above and beyon'd in the efforts to keep students and schools safe. More than 65 nominations were submitted for the awards.
The most recent exercises, designed to train first responders and school officials on how to work together in a crisis, were conducted at St. Charles Borromeo School in October 2013 and at R.K. Smith Middle School in January.
The Parish’s Department of Emergency Preparedness and St. Charles Parish Hospital created a Safe Schools Task Force and conducted its first active shooter drill in 2006.
The program is called I.M.P.A.S.E., for Integrated Multilayered Planning for an Active Shooter Event.
The Sheriff's Office last year also conducted training of school personnel with the Archdiocese of New Orleans about how to formulate their own plans to protect students and staff.
January 's exercise at R.K. Smith Middle School was a regional event, involving police agencies from throughout the area.
Sheriff Greg Champagne said one of St. Charles Parish's major assets is the ability of public agencies to work together. Deputies regularly train with the parish's fire departments in order to learn how to better coordinate their efforts.
"Our I.M.P.A.S.E. program could not be successful without the partnership with the school system, flrefighters and other stakeholders in our parish. It is a credit to their leadership,"
Sheriff Champagne said.