Porch and Parish The Podcast

Behind the Badge: Chief Daryl Schuster Lawrence on Diversity, Leadership, and Community in Zachary

February 19, 2024 Porch & Parish Season 3 Episode 6
Behind the Badge: Chief Daryl Schuster Lawrence on Diversity, Leadership, and Community in Zachary
Porch and Parish The Podcast
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Porch and Parish The Podcast
Behind the Badge: Chief Daryl Schuster Lawrence on Diversity, Leadership, and Community in Zachary
Feb 19, 2024 Season 3 Episode 6
Porch & Parish

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His high school resume includes membership in the Honors Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and Future Farmers of America. To wind down, he spends time reading, or camping in the woods with his wife. And he loves his tiny toy breed puppy.  

These are some unexpected revelations from our interview with the Zachary Police Department's trailblazing first African American police chief,  Daryl "Schuster" Lawrence. A ZHS graduate, Chief Lawrence was born and raised in our community. Chief Lawrence has committed 36 years of his life to serving and protecting the people of our city, as well as served in the Marine Corps for six years. 

From his humble beginnings as a volunteer officer to ascending to his current role, Chief Lawrence has demonstrated exceptional leadership, integrity, and a deep-rooted commitment to our city. His historic election as Zachary's first African American Police Chief in December of 2022 and taking the Oath of Office January 9, 2023 is a milestone for him and our community.

Join us for this enlightening journey behind the badge—a story of change, unity, and the power of a shared vision for a better tomorrow.Chief Lawrence's leadership represents progress and inclusivity in law enforcement, showcasing that qualification knows no bounds and that diversity strengthens our institutions. His dedication to upholding the values of justice, fairness, and community engagement embodies the spirit of Black History Month.

Thank you, Chief Lawrence, for your service to our country, and our community. 

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Show Notes Transcript

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His high school resume includes membership in the Honors Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and Future Farmers of America. To wind down, he spends time reading, or camping in the woods with his wife. And he loves his tiny toy breed puppy.  

These are some unexpected revelations from our interview with the Zachary Police Department's trailblazing first African American police chief,  Daryl "Schuster" Lawrence. A ZHS graduate, Chief Lawrence was born and raised in our community. Chief Lawrence has committed 36 years of his life to serving and protecting the people of our city, as well as served in the Marine Corps for six years. 

From his humble beginnings as a volunteer officer to ascending to his current role, Chief Lawrence has demonstrated exceptional leadership, integrity, and a deep-rooted commitment to our city. His historic election as Zachary's first African American Police Chief in December of 2022 and taking the Oath of Office January 9, 2023 is a milestone for him and our community.

Join us for this enlightening journey behind the badge—a story of change, unity, and the power of a shared vision for a better tomorrow.Chief Lawrence's leadership represents progress and inclusivity in law enforcement, showcasing that qualification knows no bounds and that diversity strengthens our institutions. His dedication to upholding the values of justice, fairness, and community engagement embodies the spirit of Black History Month.

Thank you, Chief Lawrence, for your service to our country, and our community. 

Support the Show.

Speaker 1:

I'm Daryl Lawrence, keep listening to Forge in Paris, the podcast.

Speaker 2:

What's up, zachary? We're back with another exciting episode broadcasting from the press in downtown Zachary. Just a quick progress update the downstairs renovation is complete, with new floors in the kitchen, paint throughout, a fireplace, mantel remodel after an unfortunate caving in and a bathroom remodel after an inconvenient water leak. We've got some surprises in store as we prepare for our new downstairs neighbors counter space, zachary. So stay tuned for all those updates. Now to today's guest. We're honored to sit down with our downtown across the street neighbor, daryl Schuster Lawrence. The city sent out a recent press release honoring chief Lawrence in celebration of Black History Month and he happens to be Zachary's first African American police chief and he's got an incredible story. We're going to get into that and more and hopefully hear about the state of crime in our city. I'm Mike Genere, publisher of Forge in Paris. We bring you the best of Zachary and the development north region through candid conversations every Monday from our headquarters right here on Virginia Street. This is Forge in Paris, the podcast. Stay tuned, we'll be right back with our lightning round.

Speaker 2:

The Castellux Agency has provided the insurance our community needs at a price you can afford since 1982. The family owned and woman led insurance agency is ready to help you insure your home, car, boat and business. Owner, danette Castello is president and member of the professional insurance agents of Louisiana Association and a proud community partner. When you work with Castellux Agency, you're supporting a locally owned small business. Learn more about the Castellux Agency at CastelluxAgencycom. That's C-A-S-T-E-L-L-O agencycom, or give them a call at 225-654-2313. Castellux Agency ensuring our community. All right, and we're back with the lightning round. So, chief, when do you typically take a vacation?

Speaker 1:

I don't know. I haven't taken a vacation just yet. I've been here a year. I've taken maybe a day here and there. It's been kind of busy.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean, if you could, would you go beach or mountains?

Speaker 1:

I go mountains, I like mountains.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, all right, that says a lot about you. A little bit more secluded and get a little privacy. Yeah, peaceful.

Speaker 1:

You know my wife and I we like to camp, so we like to go out. You know the state parks. You know park by lake somewhere. Yeah. And just enjoy the quiet and the scenery out there. Yeah. You know I like to fish, so I like to be out that one.

Speaker 2:

A fresh water or salt water, doesn't matter. Got it? Yeah, you ever catch any good bass in Zachary. That's a question I get sometimes, like where can I catch a bass in Zachary?

Speaker 1:

Not a lot in Zachary yeah.

Speaker 2:

Maybe in an HOA pond somewhere. No, no, no, no no. It's got a lot of like roundup.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, we don't fish there.

Speaker 2:

Chemicals on it and all that kind of thing. All right, what's your favorite hobby or pastime outside of where you got that one? It's fishing, I think. Fishing, fishing. You got a boat.

Speaker 1:

No, I don't. My wife won't allow me to buy a boat. She says uh waste of money. All right, especially right now because my schedule's a little tight.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, do y'all have um boats in the uh in the arsenal? Not in the arsenal, but, like you know, when floods come you probably have those kind of boats, right?

Speaker 1:

We've just uh emergency vehicles. But uh, we've just purchased one actually. Yeah. We have a group of guys that are part of the Swiftwater Rescue Team here. Oh, the Paris. Yeah. So we purchased a um boat so that they could actually go out and do some training and now, when we you know if there is a flood, we will have our own boat. Now we were using the fire department so, you know, in the Cajun Navy sometimes it's good to have your own.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, absolutely yeah, yeah, um, all right. What organizations were you involved with in high school?

Speaker 1:

In high school um. I was part of um. You see my honest society. I was a um future farmers of America.

Speaker 2:

I love that. I love that You've got a big egg history with your family right.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I was also a member of the fellowship of Christian athletes while I was in school too.

Speaker 2:

All right, okay, so uh, what sport?

Speaker 1:

Uh sports. Well, we played football um basketball. We did some track Um. Those are my three favorites. Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

You ran track.

Speaker 1:

Well, actually I threw the shot, putting the disc down. I knew you were going to say that I was more of a field guy than I was a speed guy.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I mean, you never know. Right now you looked like a field guy, like you definitely are lifting, uh, some weights on a regular basis. All right, um, yeah, what's cool. Zachary High School, nice, nice. A shout out to any fellow alums.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Um like from that that time.

Speaker 1:

You know, we uh play ball with a lot of different kids. Uh, I had a really good friend, uh, donald Stewart was uh a guy I knew from kindergarten and then uh, from Zachary High. Uh, good friend of mine, it was Terry Schilling. Uh, we uh played ball together.

Speaker 2:

All right, cool, cool. And what position on the football team?

Speaker 1:

Well, let's see, we played both, both ways at that time. I played defensive end and I also played tight end. Oh you're a tight end. Yeah, I was a little bit smaller than I am right now.

Speaker 2:

You know a little bit lighter, right. Right, I could see that. I could see that I was able to play tight end. All right, who was your favorite school teacher in wine? This is such a tough one, just you know what. Who's the teacher that kind of comes to mind immediately, cause they're all.

Speaker 1:

I would be.

Speaker 2:

Of some sort of credit.

Speaker 1:

Donald Moffitt. Believe it or not, donald Moffitt was my football coach at one point and also my geometry teacher. Yeah, learned a lot from it. He's a really really good guy, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I loved that. Schuster, what is? I looked this up. There's like a German meaning of Schuster. Do you know it?

Speaker 1:

I don't know the meaning of that. You know it was a name I've been called since I was a little kid. Yeah, you know, I once looked it up and when people asked me how you spell it, you know cause I had to learn how to spell it myself Okay, and I looked up a book publisher. You know I like to read. It's called Simon and Schuster, right, and that's why I came up with this spelling. Okay, if you ask me what it meant in German, I couldn't tell you.

Speaker 2:

I looked it up cause I wanted to be prepared. But yeah, it means shoemaker. Ah, you know, that's not me. Oh man, all right, but your shoes are always well polished. I do take note of that.

Speaker 1:

That's from the Marine Corps thing right there, I forgot.

Speaker 2:

Okay, yeah, how many years? Six years. Six years being a military background. Was there like a squad that you were in or a group, Showing my ignorance?

Speaker 1:

Well, what I did? I was in a weapons company. Yeah, I was what you were calling 0351, which is a dragon gunner, and I know you don't know what that is but no, I really don't know. Dragon is a wire guided missile that you would fire. That would actually blow up tanks. Yeah, anti-personnel carriers and those type things, yeah, yeah, oh, all right.

Speaker 2:

Reminds me of the guy on police academy, the giant guy with the bazooka.

Speaker 1:

Kind of looks that way.

Speaker 2:

Oh, does it? Yeah, all right. All right, now to the serious stuff. Thank you for indulging us. I always enjoy the lightning round, so I'm going to read a recent press release from the city. It's a little lengthy, but bear with me because it's very worthy.

Speaker 2:

In celebration of Black History Month, the city of Zachary would like to recognize Chief Daryl Schuster Lawrence, zachary's first African-American police chief, as mayor of Zachary.

Speaker 2:

I am honored to acknowledge Chief Daryl Lawrence during Black History Month. Chief Lawrence's journey is a testament to dedication, perseverance and excellence. Born and raised in our community, chief Lawrence has committed 36 years of his life to serving and protecting the people of our city. From his humble beginnings as volunteer officer to ascending to become assistant police chief, chief Lawrence has demonstrated exceptional leadership, integrity and a deep rooted commitment to our city. His historic election as Zachary's first African-American police chief in December of 2022 and taking the oath of office January 9th 2023 is a milestone for him and our community. Chief Lawrence's leadership represents progress and inclusivity in law enforcement, showcasing that qualification shows no bounds and that diversity strengthens our institutions. His dedication to upholding the values of justice, fairness and community engagement embodies the spirit of Black History Month. As we celebrate Black History Month, let's honor the past Trailblazers and recognize and support the leaders shaping our future, like Chief Darrell Schuster Lawrence. Thank you, chief Lawrence, for your service, leadership and contributions to the city of Zachary.

Speaker 2:

That was a mouthful, but yeah yeah so you are appreciated for sure, and we're gonna talk about the journey a little bit. So, chief Lawrence, your recent recognition during Black History Month highlights your significant role in law enforcement history in Zachary. Can you share with our listeners a bit about your journey and what this recognition means to you?

Speaker 1:

Well, coming here back in 89, 88, 89, there were not a lot of Black officers here. When I got here there were two actually, yeah, officer, actually three. I said two Captain Johnson, sergeant Banks and Officer Eubanks and I made the four. So just coming through that process, you know, on a two man shift, you know it's kind of hard when you would answer calls here and there it was two. So then you test and try to move up.

Speaker 1:

It was always my intentions to test and try to move up in the ranks. But you know, believe it or not, when I first walked in the department and you know I walked down the front hall and I saw the pictures of all of the chiefs and different things, it was a goal of mine at that point to at least try to be a member of that fraternity. So being able to stay here as long as I have and, you know, treating people the right way and being able to pass those tests, learning the job like you're supposed to, and then being able to pass those promotional exams and maybe, you know, getting to that assistant chief position was a test, you know, that's just testing and then to be able to run for chief of police and have the people in Zachary actually elect you, look at your qualifications and choose you as the best person you know to run a department was a humbling thing for me.

Speaker 2:

Yeah yeah, often um think about these three words talent, skill and desire. And you know my kids are runners and One of them does better. You know I think he's got the talent. Another one's a really hard worker and she has the skill but maybe not so much the desire. When you are kind of making your ascent to become police chief, do do those words stand out to you as as qualities that you you had all three like, because to me you seem like a guy that has the desire to keep learning. Just in conversations that we've had, you're always learning something new about the force, like you're you kind of nerd out about it, you know.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, those those you know those three words are, you know, you can. They can just sum it up you know you have to have the desire to Succeed yeah you also have to have some time yeah, you know to be able to do the job.

Speaker 2:

The skill is an. It can be taught. You can learn skills, but you might not be talented.

Speaker 1:

Skill, skill. Skill in this, you know, is a, is a lot of study. You know, yeah, when I first came to work here, I was, you know, kind of a shy guy. I wasn't.

Speaker 1:

I could see that, yeah, I was in a guy that would get out and talk a lot. But but being being good at this job, you know it's more more, more than being just physical. Yeah, you know you have to be able to talk in situations, talk yourself out of situations. People having a bad day, people are, you know, they're having problems, yeah, and now you have to be able to talk. You have to be able to listen, yeah, so you know, in listening and reasoning and trying to help them come up with a solution we don't always have it, but at least give them an ear so that they can, you know, voice Whatever they need to yes you know, being able to read people.

Speaker 2:

Have you ever lost your temper Like on the job? Oh, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, but you know, you, you quickly realize, realize that losing your temper Is losing the battle. Yeah, because we're not out here for that. Yeah. When we deal with people people basically having a bad day- yeah, so we both of us can't have a bad day at the same time. So you know when I think sometimes People need to think that you're losing your temper, because they need to see that as a parent, I can attest to that.

Speaker 2:

Yes, yeah, strategic anger yeah.

Speaker 1:

And then you know, you know, once they see that and you back right down, you know it Cons the situation you can make people mad if you seem to calm.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, well, you can kind of like you're passing them off or something or you're not taking them seriously.

Speaker 1:

Because they want to, they want to see some reaction. Yeah, and if you always calm, real, real calm, it's like you're not really caring sometimes. Yeah you know you have to spark it up a little bit.

Speaker 2:

So your dedication to community engagement is evident, and this, this word, engagement is something that I like to think about a lot. You know the words diversity, inclusion have been around for a good while. I think we all understand what it means and it's it's transforming into More of a conversation about how can we get all people engaged right. So you, you, have this incredible role as police chief. How are you impacting, engaging engagement going into the future?

Speaker 1:

Well, what I try to show people is that that we're here to represent the entire population of Zachary, not just one segment. So we're here to represent everybody. So we try to get involved with Whatever's going on, with that type programs going on. You know we go to the schools. You know we try to make a big impact on children and Children come from different background, different. You know different roles and you want to see, you want them to see you in a positive light. So I think we start more so with the children. The children see in a positive light and then, believe it or not, they present that to the parents. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

And then the parents take it. You know, you know a kid likes chief Lars, because I I have grandkids and pretty much have school around here, yeah, and so I'll run into children in the stores and introduce me to the parents and Quickly say that's, you know, Liam's grandfather, that's Abius grandfather, yeah, so you know, it kind of ties back into it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, excellent, all right. So we talked about in engaging the little ones and I can attest my, my little one in meal. He dresses up like a like sheriff Labrador. This is showy like Paul patrol. You probably know Paul patrol sheriff.

Speaker 2:

Sheriff Labrador is a little bit more fringe and he's got this police like assistant Assistant chief Dobie he's a doberman, but yeah, my kid loves policing now, so it's great to see that I didn't. I didn't grow up with any role models other than maybe like a team, you know just, or what was it? Police Academy which kind of made light of it all. Right, yeah, yeah. Well, let's talk about a serious topic of Engaging disengaged young males who statistically commit the most crime, and this one shoot. I I don't. I don't have many ideas on this. What you got, yeah we've.

Speaker 1:

You know this is a hard situation. Yeah, let's just look at it. Yeah, so what we're trying to do is to open a dialogue with them. I want to get my officers more out In the public, involved in different activities that maybe you know. Some of the kids? Yeah, you know, we tried to start out with the churches.

Speaker 2:

That's working a little yeah, but then just kids have to go to church first.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, but then just going into the neighborhoods, yeah, yeah, hopefully we'll be starting more so with our community policing, where you know we may seek years our plans off ball of basketball or anything. Just try to stop and talk. Sports are great. Yeah, just try to at least stop and hold, you know. Just hold the conversation so that they can get used to seeing us in, and I'm more friendly like that as opposed to an adversarial type thing. Yeah, let them see it. You know you hate to use the term officer friendly, but at least let them see that. Yeah, you know, from time to time, instead of just always seeing that you know the police is here to arrest somebody or whatever.

Speaker 1:

But just, you know, the police are interacting when it's that you know just talking and then they may stop to. You know, just shoot baskets with us. Yeah, you know, pitch me a ball or something. Yeah, some kind of way of getting back into it.

Speaker 2:

How do you balance the, the closeness with the community members? Like, let's say, you go shoot hoops with somebody in the community but then at the same time, uh-oh, now they get into trouble you. You know it speaks to fear and policing, do y'all? Do you utilize fear still as much as it was utilized in the past, or I?

Speaker 1:

Don't, I don't think we can use fear in that way, like it was in the past. You know things a little bit different. These days. I think you get More cooperation. Yeah, more response are better response from people. Yeah, I simply, you know, trying to talk. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

It's like an everyday person, you know. We just talking to each other, yeah, I think I can get More out of you and you can get, you know, some things out of me if we just, if we just hold a conversation. Yeah, my physical presence intimidates people, I know, yeah, and I'll attest.

Speaker 2:

I think I mentioned that I'm short and about every episode, but I do stand about five foot five and I think You're about six foot four, if I had to guess is that about right? Yeah, so I got good at just figuring out big people.

Speaker 1:

So I work hard at making people comfortable.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, you know, with me. Mm-hmm.

Speaker 1:

So they're not afraid. Yeah. I don't know if we can do Policing like we did in the past yeah, having people afraid of the police.

Speaker 1:

Yeah because we want people to be comfortable enough to talk to us. Yeah, because for us to solve crimes, for us to To help combat crime, we're gonna actually need our public, because you see everything. Yeah, you're there when I'm not there, so you see what goes on. So, in order for us to be able to to, to combat, you know, the crime, keep crime from here we're gonna have to be able to build a relationship with our community and with our public. So you, know fear I. Don't think we can do that anymore.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, fear is a subject we recently broached with storm calmers over here at the medic physical Store across from city hall and she's been experiencing a lot of issues. She's she reports, you know, with just People kind of targeting her in the community for being different. Yeah, but fear is no good, no good at all, and I'm sure y'all experience a lot of fear yourselves when you go into situations that you have to deal with, right.

Speaker 1:

Yes, you'd be crazy to go in a situation and not have some. Yeah, you know, fear does keep you safe. Yeah, I make you think also, you know you know, when you're going in this situation side, you know, I think somebody would be crazy to just Run in this situation and not have Any type caution. Yeah, now we, we, you know we do a lot of training, we do a lot of situational training. Mm-hmm and you can also see the fear when we do a lot of live training with you know, with guys.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you know, fears. A good thing in that aspect.

Speaker 2:

Do you do much training about the use of cell phones now, when they kind of come out it I'm sure y'all experienced cell phones in your face as soon as you're making an arrest or you know. And I kind of want to know, does it is that when a black officer is arresting a, you know, a black Individual, or is it does it go both ways? Does the crowd come out with all the cameras because it seems very annoying?

Speaker 1:

Like it's not helping. Yeah that that pretty much happens in all situations.

Speaker 1:

Okay and and what we realize is that we are being filmed at all times. Yeah, we're filming ourselves. We were body cameras, so you know you are. Yeah, I don't say you, you're cautious, but you, you, you do the job in the right way and you're not worried about whether or not somebody's filming you. Yeah, I've had experiences with people that want to put a camera right up in your face because they're expecting you to do something. Yeah, there's no worthy. That can go on the.

Speaker 2:

YouTube. How close can they put that camera in your face Is it? Are there laws about that technically?

Speaker 1:

people, should you know, we can ask people to stand back, yeah, and we try to get them to. You know, anywhere from six to ten to eight feet back away From a situation that we're they were trying to handle.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, our Related story I think we were having a run through town at one time and we had to divert traffic and one of the Residents from one of the Neighborhoods wanted to go in the way that we went, that we couldn't let them go because it'll runners and I was called to sit. You know, I was caught and the first thing that happened when I got there Was a guy stuck a camera phone right in my face. Yeah, you know. And yeah, being a 30 year veteran, you know what this is all about. So you know when you handle, when you start handling the situation and getting the information from the Citizen and you get the information from the officer.

Speaker 1:

Yeah and you make a good decision or the best decision at the time, and the cameras go away right, you know it's boring. You know you didn't. You didn't react, you didn't yell, you didn't scream, you were calm, yeah, and you just handle the situation. Yeah, come yeah yeah.

Speaker 2:

As a leader in law enforcement. What initiatives are you most passionate about and implementing for the community of Zachary these days? Are we, I guess? Are we seeing anything new with their administration?

Speaker 1:

well, I'm the chief, mac David. We Were a good police department, so when we came in we didn't have to make a whole lot of wholesale changes. I would just have to get Officers and I'm gonna say it this way It'll get. Officers are used to not being able to go around me.

Speaker 2:

Oh, right, right, you know because you were the assistant before yeah, I was the assistant You're like the good cop. Before, oh, you were the disciplinarian.

Speaker 1:

I was a bad cop because I was a guy that said no, I see.

Speaker 1:

I see whenever, because I handle the budget and all of that different stuff. Yeah so when things are needed, you know, was either no or yes. You know, because I put together most of that now. Now I'm involved with that also. Yeah, but I'm also in a position where I can say yes and no, and you know I can be good and bad. Yeah so it's a little bit different over. You know, over here I try to throw some of the some of the no on my sister cheap like you know it should be.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you know, we try to have that good parent, bad parent thing or known sometime.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, excited about the new department headquarters, yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, we have. This is this has been a long time coming. We have pretty much outgrown our building.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, if you've ever, if you've been in, but I've thankfully not been in what we?

Speaker 1:

you know what I did interview.

Speaker 2:

I interviewed um. I Then Chief McDavid when he was running in his office it was cool.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, well, you see the building he's splitting to. Okay, yeah, portion is for the police department and another portion is for the court. Yeah, and as the court is grown, they've taken more, more, more of the building.

Speaker 1:

Yeah so now I have guys that are that should have an office, that are kind of stuffed in. I have three people in one office, yeah, but this, and then I have my detectives are up on Brian Road at the Sheriff's Office Mm-hmm so. But this building would give us an opportunity To have our whole police department and all of our equipment and everything in one spot. Oh, that makes a huge difference.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, we won't have to remember to go get our four-wheelers from the city or before they lock it up on Friday, right, so that we can use them. And why to remember to do, you know, to get this before somebody lock it up? Yeah, because we'll have everything there and I'll be able to to to see when my detectives are yeah where my Nocotics guys are yeah you know you have everybody there under one, under one room. Yeah, it'll be easier, but it'll be easy to keep up with everybody.

Speaker 2:

Oh, I'm sure. Well, I feel your pain. Just moving to this new office over here I've had to, maybe it. I'm bringing new tools in every single day. It's like dang it. You know, I just want to put this light cover back on the the light switch, and I don't have a flat head here, so I don't have to wait till next time I go home. Those little things add up. You should stop by over sometime.

Speaker 1:

It's, yeah, it's coming along. Oh, a construction, cool yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, um, who are y'all using for your vendor over there? Is it Stewart Stewart, you like in the experience.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I'm actually. We actually meet on a Every two week basis. Yeah, as far as the progress and how everything is going and if we are, if there's any Excuse me, if there's any changes that we may need and they've been, you know, real helpful, because we've had to make one or two changes. Yeah, after you remember, we started designing this building about three years ago. Yeah, so you know, you come up with different ideas and different things, so they've been helpful with that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, how did y'all choose a location?

Speaker 1:

well, that's, that's. That was kind of interesting.

Speaker 2:

I'm sensing under there am around.

Speaker 1:

We looked at a lot of different places. Okay, I don't how we 64 night host 19 Cross from milling daughter funeral. We look at a lot of different places. Yeah, and I think they were going through that one day and so that they had 20 acres in there that yell around 20 acres the city purchased 20 acres. We're not on 20 acres. We just have a small portion of that.

Speaker 2:

So there's expansion space, though for city.

Speaker 1:

Oh cool. Okay, now that's not to say a city hall, anything's gonna build over there. I don't know what they do, but I know that they. You know we wanted to put the police department there out in the middle of town. Yeah, because the police department needs different. You know you need fences and different. Yes, that's just don't go well good in downtown, because it, you know, said we look like a concentration area.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah, yeah but we needed, you know, fences, and then we needed ways to secure things, and downtown Did not. Did not give us that right. It's tough.

Speaker 2:

It's tough to even fit a dumpster. I was gonna come ask you if we could use your dumpster. You know, like for retail purposes you have to have. You have to have two hoses, a hot and cold water line hooked up to a dumpster to get Any to cook anything and yes, but yeah, downtown struggles with square footage right now.

Speaker 2:

So, but this is. This is all interesting, so let's go to a brief break Enjoying the family feature in the fall edition of porch and parish. Those were all made possible by sponsors like Godan law firm. Looking for help in a family law matter like adoption, godan law group can help. Godan law group produces effective solutions efficiently. Each member of their team shares a professional mission to be on point in service and ethical duties. Being on point means being on top of things, on the ball, on schedule, ready to perform, to be excellent, and is the company's guiding principle.

Speaker 2:

Godan law group consists of people who make a living by guiding, coaching, supporting and leading clients in situations that are often very personal and Sensitive, ones that forever mark a person's life. With so much at stake for their clients, they must be on point, and that's what they aim. To be called Godan law group at 225 412 8048. That's 225 412 8048, all right, and we are back with police chief Darrell Schuster. Lawrence, thank you for being here today. So got a couple more questions on our app here and I wanted to ask you what. What advice would you give to aspiring law enforcement officers, particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds?

Speaker 1:

Well, you have to first realize that this is not a job that you're going to get rich in. You can have you can have a good life. But also you have to remember that you have to come in and it's job for the right reason. I think sometimes people come for their own reason.

Speaker 1:

You actually have to have a A heart for, for helping yeah yeah, because we we have a lot of, we have a lot of responsibility. One of the only professions that that Is charged with the people's safety. We're one of the only professions that can legally take a life. Yeah, the right way. Right, you know, to protect somebody, you have to. It almost sounds like this is a cliche, but you actually have to believe in that mantra of our protect and serve. Yeah, you know, this is our, this is our community and we're here to protect this community. We also have to remember that when we say protect and serve, we're here to serve our community also. So you know that kind of goes. You know, in hand, you know you're protecting at one point and then the public needs something from you.

Speaker 1:

So you hit a serve in the mouth.

Speaker 2:

So yeah, excellent. You know, one of the main foundations were built upon here in Zachary is the school system, and y'all do an excellent job of being in the schools. Right, you have a dedicated officer at the high school.

Speaker 1:

We actually have two officers at the high school and we have school resources source officers in three of the other schools. Yeah. But we have a detailed officer that's at every school. Yeah, and I know the school would like to get another school resource officer, but we have to first be able to hire those people. Yeah. We have to be able to hire somebody to replace somebody to put in there. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

And right now, hiring for not only us, but for all police departments is a hard thing to do. Oh OK, there's a lot of different testing. That goes on. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

You know with sometimes with the climate and the way people think about policing right now you don't have a lot of people that want to come in Yep and then the ones that come in. You want to make sure that they come in for the right reasons yeah. So you know, hiring people, we kind of steal from each other. I steal from Baker, baker steals from them. You know, sheriff's office in Baton Rouge City steals from everybody. Oh gotcha yeah yeah.

Speaker 1:

And also we kind of, you know, take hearing that. But yeah, hopefully we'll be able to get to full staff here pretty soon.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, how do you increase your recruitment efforts? Is it legal for y'all to recruit from others, other forces?

Speaker 1:

It's illegal for us to recruit. You know what we try to do is make ourselves more attractive to you know, officers who have experience. You know, as a small department we lose officers because they want to go to bigger agencies where there's more room to move around. Yeah, in a small department you're kind of handicapped because you have patrol and you have detectives and you don't have all of these different divisions where they can move. So you try to get competitive with you know, with the pay, you know with benefits and making sure that their equipment and everything is the best that you can actually get out there.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, okay, got it Back to the school thing for just a moment. Can you share what is the protocol for a fight in a school when you have that resource officer out of school? This is that you know. The biggest thing you hear is, hey, a couple of kids got in a fight at school and this is, this is becoming a problem, right? How so is? This is going to be a two part question. How do y'all work to reduce the amounts of physical engagement? Y'all have it at the schools, and then what is the protocol when it does happen?

Speaker 1:

Well, we as a police department, our school resource officers over there are there and we try to be Visible, for one thing. Yeah. We try to make sure that we know what's going on there are. I think a lot of the kids are real comfortable with the resource officers that we have, so they're not afraid to come up and talk to them and tell them where different things are. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

Or possibly going to happen, excuse me yeah. What's going to happen. So that alleviates some of the problem. Now, excuse me, when our officers do run into those situations, they have to. They have two sets of rules they have to follow. They have, you know, the school rules that they have to follow, and they also have the law enforcement side. Yeah, so if it's bad enough and anybody wants to, you know you can actually be charged with simple battery In some of those situations. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

And sometimes we wonder if it, if it's, if it's more effective if we charge them or the school suspends them, right, because you hate to really charge a kid with, you know, with simple battering, and put some on the criminal history. If a suspension will do, yeah, so we would. You know, we would try to push it that way more so. But if it's, you know, if it's serious enough to where we have to charge, then we actually will charge.

Speaker 2:

Wow, wow, I never knew that was an option. I would have felt safer as a kid. No, no, right, because you know and we're grown up. Yeah, just, it's just a fight. As a kid it happens, and it's always like both kids fall somehow Right, but sometimes it's not. Sometimes it really is bullying out there. So is there anything that I've left out, that you that is close to the heart, that you want to talk about?

Speaker 1:

Well, we're actually going to be starting something and I hope the public can, you know, can see it. I've been told that that it looks like they see more of my officers out, which is a good thing.

Speaker 2:

I believe that yeah.

Speaker 1:

You know, which is a good thing. We're also going to be, excuse me, starting. You know, some neighborhood patrols. Yeah. You know, because you get different. You know, from time to time you have different things going on in certain neighborhoods and you want to kind of saturate that area. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

You know, with some patrol or kind of you know to come back some of that, we'll get a lot of speeding complaints in the neighborhoods, yeah, running the stop signs and those type things, excuse me. So we're going to put guys in those neighborhoods with those specific jobs to you know. You know to handle whatever situation that's going on in there. Now, once we start putting them in there, we're going to ask the neighbors and the people in the neighborhood now remember they are there yeah.

Speaker 1:

Because sometimes a lot of the speeders in the neighborhoods are the people that actually lived there, right? So if we end up writing and we end up having the right people that are in the neighborhood, we're hoping that doesn't happen, but we're hoping to be able to be there because we, you know, from time to time we have these daytime burglaries. Yeah. So having the officers, having them having a larger presence, we're hoping to kind of try to combat some of that, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it only takes one time, until you Remember to go lock the door of C car every night. Don't leave anything in there, and we're trying to make people aware that, uh, you know our small town, that we had at one point is getting bigger and it's growing up.

Speaker 1:

So uh yeah, along with that growth comes other things. Yeah, so where are you used to when you were a kid and when I? Well, not when you were kid, cause I'm much older than you. When I was a kid, you could um, actually, you know go to bed and not even worry about locking your door. Yeah. Um.

Speaker 2:

I I'd feel about 95% safe to do that still in Zachary, but it only took one time and the whole neighborhood got hit. One night there were just purses everywhere, like the next day, you know we try to, we try to remind people to lock your doors. Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 1:

Lock your car doors, yeah. So you don't leave things in there that attempting for people to break in.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, don't become a target. Yeah, all right. Well, we're going to wrap it there. That is it for this week's episode of porch in Paris. The podcast with chief Darrell Schuster. Lawrence, it's been a pleasure to have you today. Uh, need to get in touch with Zachary PD. Call their non-emergency line at 225-654-9393. Is that correct? That's correct, all right, that's 654-9393. Or email chief Lawrence directly at D Lawrence. That's D L A W R E N C E at Zachary PDorg.

Speaker 2:

Huge shout out to our community Partners, like the Zachary community school district, who stand with us in our mission to make Zachary a place where every resident feels hurting and engaged. Thanks to the generosity and support of our community partners, the magazine, podcast and everything you see online is possible and free because of them. The three T's that make up quality of life. Remember them. Pick up trash when you see it, foster technology at any expense and embrace an attitude of tolerance for diverse voices to begin to engage everyone's talents in our community. Those diverse voices are the creative engines that will drive the future success of our economy. And you got any on quality of life. No, respect your local law enforcement officers and give them a call If you really do have a problem, you know they're there to help, protect and serve. Thank you, chief. Till next time, bye, bye.

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