U.S. Attorney, Caddo Sheriff Partner to Teach Children about Firearm Safety
SHREVEPORT, La. –United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley and Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator have joined together to offer a new tool to law enforcement to teach firearm safety to children.
At a ceremony today at the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association Office in Baton Rouge, two new firearm safety trailers were unveiled. The trailers will be used as part of the Louisiana Law Enforcement Gun Safety Program to teach firearm safety to children at area schools. Currently, the program only uses one trailer. Since its inception in June of 2013, the program has reached approximately 22,100 children and has distributed 300 gunlocks to adults. The two new trailers were acquired to meet the demand from Louisiana schools.
When the new trailers are put into service, there will be a trailer in each of the three federal judicial districts in Louisiana - Western, Middle and Eastern. The Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office will house one of the trailers, which will be available for law enforcement agencies to use throughout the Western District of Louisiana. Forty-two of the state’s 64 parishes are in the Western District. The trailer should be available for use in October.
The Louisiana Law Enforcement for Gun Safety Program was created in response to the alarmingly high rate of accidental firearm injuries and deaths among children in Louisiana. The program uses certified firearm instructors to teach parents and children about gun safety through an interactive presentation involving live demonstrations and the distribution of gunlocks. The program demonstrates the dangers of firearms and tests students’ knowledge of gun safety. The instructors show students various handguns and ask them if the weapons are real or toys. The students in many cases are unable to distinguish between real or toy guns because many toy guns look, feel and weigh the same as real ones. At the end of the program, students are shown the destructive capacity of guns by watching a pistol fire a bullet into a watermelon inside of a protective enclosure. Students are instructed that weapons must be handled safely and with adult supervision.
The program aims to identify the hazards of unsecured firearms, teach individuals how to secure firearms, identify distinguishing characteristics between real and toy guns, and illustrate the destructive force of firearms through the use of the demonstration trailer. Presentations are conducted at schools, camps and community events.
“The U.S. Attorney’s Office is proud to support this program,” Finley said. “Children’s safety in the Western District of Louisiana is of the utmost concern for this office. The Gun Safety Program helps educate students on how to react when finding a gun. This program can save a life.”
“I’ve seen many cases in my 41-year law enforcement career that prove children need gun safety education,” said Caddo Sheriff Steve Prator. “The Caddo Sheriff’s Office is excited to play such an important role in this program and to offer it, along with other ongoing programs like Sheriff’s Safety Town, to help keep our children safe.”
The program is available for use by all law enforcement agencies in Louisiana through the endorsements of the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Western, Middle and Eastern Districts, Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office, Baton Rouge City Constable’s Office, Louisiana Department of Corrections, Louisiana Sheriff’s Association, Louisiana Association of Chiefs of Police, Louisiana City Marshals and City Constables Association, Louisiana District Attorneys Association, Louisiana State Police, and the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office Law Enforcement Community Coordinator, Mike Campbell, will help implement and assist in the operation of the program in conjunction with the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office. As LECC, Campbell acts as a liaison between the U.S. Attorney=s Office and local, state, and federal law enforcement. He assists with grants, coordinates and provides law enforcement training, and assists law enforcement agencies with special and community needs.
For more information about the firearms safety program, contact Mike Campbell at the U.S. Attorney’s Office at 318-676-3600 or the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office at 318-675-2170.
From left are Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office Fleet Manager Mike Gregory; U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Louisiana Walt Green; Holly Sheets, Victim Witness Coordinator for the U.S. Attorney’s Office Middle District of Louisiana; First Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana Alexander Van Hook; Baton Rouge Constable Reginald Brown; and Mike Campbell, Law Enforcement Coordinator for the Western District of Louisiana.