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Gold Star Deputy Gives New Meaning to SRO

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Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Deputy Cole Laird

Submitted by: Sonja Bailes
Bossier SchoolsPublic Relations Liaison

After patrolling the streets for over three years, Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Deputy Cole Laird was
looking for a change where he could make a true difference. So when the chance to become the
School Resource Officer (SRO) at Rusheon Middle School came up, he felt it was God’s perfect
plan. Little did he realize just how much he would enjoy being there and love the kids.

“These kids get a bad reputation from people thinking they are just inner city kids with no hope,”
said Laird. “These kids have great personalities and so much potential to grow into something
better in their life. They are good kids that are searching for good role models in life. That’s
where we come in.”

Sure, there are occasions when Deputy Laird has to show tough love; but for the most part, he
does not have to because of the relationships he has built in a quick amount of time.

Paraprofessional Pamela Bell has witnessed that firsthand, saying in Laird’s case, rather than
SRO meaning School Resource Officer it should stand for Special Relationship Officer.

“(He) is more than just an officer wearing a badge demanding recognition,” she explained. “He
is automatically recognized for the wonderful person he is inside and out.”

“I want these young people to know me before the badge,” Laird expressed. “I often tell them
‘You ain’t never met a cop like me.’ My goal is to show these kids that I am just a regular dude
that is sincere in everything I say and do.”

One way Laird has broken down any perceived barriers is by integrating himself into student life.

“When Dep. Laird is not canvassing our campus, he can often be seen visiting the band room
and playing instruments along with the students or playing volleyball during gym class,” wrote
Dr. Natalie Pope.

That’s right. SRO Laird blew the dust off his trombone from when he was in middle school and
is now a regular in the Rams’ band room.

“I think the first time I walked in with my trombone case at the beginning of the year, I could see
the look on the students’ faces that said ‘is this guy serious?’ This is where I gained ground I
believe in relating with these young people. They got to see the person in me and not just what
my uniform represents.”

Pope added Laird spends every lunch shift getting to know the students better and finding other
ways to support them.

“Most recently, he took a pie to the face to support the students who collected the most blankets
for a drive to support a local agency,” she said. “He also played the role of Santa Claus in a
musical presented by our band and student violinist. Not only was he Santa, but he was Santa
with a trumpet.”

It is the foundation SRO Laird has laid and how he continues to build bonds that he is making
an impact.

“I want to help them get beyond a bad decision and try to give them what little life wisdom I have
in hopes that they will take it to better themselves,” he explained. “My highest goal when it
comes to these kids is to be accountable. A large number of these kids have parents or a key
influential figure in their life walk out on them. My goal is to be there for them to count on when
they need it most.”

It is no wonder why, in just a few short months, Laird was nominated by his colleagues at
Rusheon to earn a badge of honor as Bossier Schools’ Gold Star winner for March.

“Deputy Laird, in a very short period of time, has made a tremendous impact on Rusheon
Middle School,” added Rusheon Principal Mitch Maxwell. “He interacts with and cares for the
students as if they were his own. His calm demeanor is a welcome addition to the nonstop pace
of middle school. He goes above and beyond the duties of an SRO and is truly worthy of
winning the Gold Star. We are so glad that he is a Ram!”

“The workplace is an awesome environment here and the camaraderie with these folks is truly
awesome,” Laird said in closing remarks. “In my eyes we are definitely the ‘A’ team. Together
we will make an impact in these young peoples’ lives and change the community.”

Editor’s note: Know someone who works for Bossier Schools that is deserving of recognition for
going above and beyond? Nominate them for the last Gold Star award of the 2021-22 school
year, proudly sponsored by Bossier Federal Credit Union. Just go to https://bit.ly/3oAP4Mi
and tell what sets them apart.

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