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Sgt. Vicky LaGrange with the St. Martinville Police Department is all smiles as she reads through the D.A.R.E. book she will soon be sharing with elementary students in St. Martinville. The SMPD officer also  will act as a school resource officer for both ELC and St. Martinville Primary School.

Forty-two-year-old Sgt. Vicky LaGrange has spent the last 14½ years in law enforcement, 11 of them in the St. Martinville City Police Department.

This fall the veteran officer will be stepping into a new dual role as the local elementary school’s new D.A.R.E. officer and School Resource Officer.

“This will be my first year teaching D.A.R.E .I just graduated the two-week training course in Lafayette,” LaGrange said. “The training is very intense because you have so much you have to do in so little time. It was a three-month course crammed into two weeks.”

The St. Martinville police officer said she met many good police officers while in training and some late night bonding took place as they once had to prepare five lesson plans in one evening. They also had to write a poem each day in an attempt to win an bring home Darren the D.A.R.E. program’s lion mascot.

LaGrange said the hard work was worth it.

“I love kids. I always had a passion for kids even when I did investigations, I did all the child cases. I hold that very dear to my heart, LaGrange said. “Kids are the future and the way we mold them is who they become.”

The sergeant has three children of her own: 9-year-old Chrystiana and adult sons Phillip and Victor.

The Arnaudville native and Breaux Bridge resident has lived in Oklahoma, where she graduated high school before heading to the U.S. Army, and later pursuing a bachelors degree in criminal justice.

LaGrange looks forward to what her passion for kids and training in D.A.R.E. may inspire in the boys and girls she will be teaching at the Early Learning Center and St. Martinville Primary School.

“To just let them know that they don’t have to follow anyone else, especially with so much negativity in the street,” she said. “I want to inspire them to know there a different avenues in life to make a safe and responsible decisions.”

The D.A.R.E. curriculum, LaGrange said, is targeted towards fifth-graders. She will be a familiar face at both elementary schools, however, as she serves in the dual capacity of school resource officer as well.

“It’s just to go and secure the school make sure the school is safe,” LaGrange said. “Assist the principal and assure safety at the school.”

D.A.R.E. pays part of LaGrange’s salary. The grant was submitted by the St. Martinville Police Department with the help of the St. Martin Parish Sheriff’s Office.

LaGrange is the second school resource officer in the city. There is another police officer at St. Martinville Senior High School.

St. Martinville Junior High School is located outside the city limits.

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