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Minden High School welcomes dedicated school resource officers

by Amber McDown

Ensuring safety and trust in education

Minden High School is now benefiting from the presence of two seasoned School Resource Officers (SROs): Officers LaDarrius Joseph and Jemela Freeman. Both officers bring years of law enforcement experience to their roles, fostering a secure and supportive environment for the students.

Officer Joseph’s journey began with the Webster Parish Sheriff’s Office, followed by his transition to the Minden Police Department. Now in his fourth year as an SRO, Joseph’s commitment to safeguarding the school community remains unwavering. Officer Freeman, with prior law enforcement experience in Shreveport and as a former SRO at ALC, brings a wealth of insight to her position.

“I love doing this. I didn’t anticipate doing this but, now that I’m in it, I wouldn’t do anything else,” shared Officer Joseph. “This is where I’m supposed to be; this is where I belong.”

Officer Freeman echoes the sentiment: “I feel like the kids can talk to us about anything. We gain their trust, and they can look at us without being like, ‘oh, there’s the po-po.’ Some people have bad judgment about law enforcement and just see us as bad, but being here with us every day lets them learn more about us and we learn about them. They learn to trust us; we build trust.”

The officers’ day begins with the closure of a section of College Street, redirecting traffic to accommodate the school buses. A brief meeting facilitates situational awareness, paving the way for their patrols. Notably, Minden High School boasts a sprawling campus, necessitating vigilant monitoring.

“We try not to walk together. Now that there’s two of us it’s better because, God forbid, if anything happens, at least some type of law enforcement presence is closer,” emphasized Joseph. “At a certain point, we’ll run into each other, and we’ll talk for a little bit before continuing walking around the school.”

Through both lunch shifts, the officers oversee students in the cafeteria and commons areas. Between shifts, they seize the opportunity to complete daily reports—a vital task that informs the school board monthly.

As the day winds down, the officers deploy a road block on College Street once again to facilitate orderly bus pickups. The year’s commencement has been auspicious, with students exhibiting commendable behavior. Officer Joseph remains optimistic about the future, expressing, “I don’t believe that any of these kids are bad. They just need something to do. They need something to occupy their time. If they had that, they’d have less time to do things they shouldn’t be doing.”

Working in tandem, Officer Joseph and Officer Freeman exemplify a harmonious partnership. “Working with Officer Freeman has been amazing,” praised Joseph. “I couldn’t ask for a better partner.”

The sentiment is reciprocated by Freeman: “He’s great. Having a great partner makes the job easier. Having him there is great support to lean on; you become a family. And I’ve learned a lot from him. He’s a wise guy.”

The officers share an unwavering commitment to the students, striving to provide protection and guidance. “We love the kids. We love them like they’re our own, so we’re going to do the best we can to protect them and guide them,” affirmed Freeman.

Minden High School stands fortified by the presence of Officers LaDarrius Joseph and Jemela Freeman, dedicated SROs who exemplify their commitment to the well-being of their students and community.

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