Notification is Prevention

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Natchitoches Parish Sheriff Victor Jones Jr. held a press conference Feb. 15 to announce the launch of a new T.A.S.K. Program (Teaching Awareness to School Kids). T.A.S.K. is a joint effort between the OffenderWatch Initiative, local School Boards and law enforcement to help parents be vigilant by receiving notifications about offenders in their area.

Families with children enrolled in the Natchitoches Parish School Distirct are encouraged to sign up for this worthy and free service to be as vigilant and informed as possible. Superintendent Dale Skinner said he appreciates the opportunity to be a part of the program.

Wendy Llorens said the Sheriff’s Office will launch the program next week with seventh grade students in the parish who are currently going through the D.A.R.E. program.

Here’s how it works:

·      Students will receive a pamphlet from School Resource Officers at their schools to bring home to their parents
·      Parents can then register online to OffenderWatchInitiative.org and sign up to learn more about offenders in their area.
·      To complete the program, they can print out the map, sign it, and send it back with the child to their teacher.
·      The child will then receive a safety prize in the form of a complimentary meal through T.A.S.K. program sponsor McDonald’s, according to Ron Bolton.

OffenderWatch Initiative has rolled out the T.A.S.K. Program to many parishes and counties through the United States. Natchitoches is the first northern parish in Louisina to enroll, but the organization plans to expand to Shreveport and the Ark-La-Tex later this year, according to executive assistant director Julio Perez. Their goal is to reach many more children and families. A 10-year plan involves launching a college program.

DA Billy Joe Harrington extended his support at the press conference to the Sheriff Deputies who work hard to keep Natchitoches Parish children safe. “We want our citizens to be knowledgeable and aware,” he said.

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