1:20pm

Tue August 30, 2011
Statehouse News

State DARE Program Re-accredited

FRANKFORT – DARE America (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) has re-accredited the Kentucky State Police as the official DARE. Training Center for the anti-drug and violence program in Kentucky. The program is a police-officer-led series of classroom lessons that teach children from kindergarten through 12th grade how to resist peer pressure and live productive drug and violence-free lives.

“The Kentucky State Police is to be commended for the dedication it has shown in shouldering the responsibility of managing and maintaining the Kentucky State D.A.R.E. Officer Training,” wrote Scott Gilliam, director of training for D.A.R.E America, after a recent evaluation.

Charlie Parsons, president and CEO of the organization, praised KSP’s “daily commitment” to the faithful replication of the D.A.R.E. training model and the concern for the officers they teach. “The children we all serve are the ultimate beneficiaries of their effort,” he said in a press release.

Last year, 13,427 fifth and sixth grade students and 3,000 seventh and eighth grade students in Kentucky participated in D.A.R.E. programs. Four thousand kindergarten through fourth grade students received at least one 20-minute lesson.

KSP has trained about 1,400 law enforcement officers from Kentucky and 26 other states as D.A.R.E. instructors since the late 1980s. Currently, there are 80 officers in the state certified to teach the program to elementary and middle school students in 36 county school systems.

D.A.R.E. officer training consists of 80 hours of instruction during a two -week period. Topics of study include classroom management and presentation skills; elementary and middle school learning theory; alcohol, tobacco, drug, violence and bullying resistance information and school visitations for hands-on teaching experience.

“D.A.R.E. goes beyond traditional drug abuse and violence prevention programs,” Bruce Olin, state D.A.R.E. coordinator and a retired state trooper, said. “It gives children the skills needed to recognize and resist the subtle and overt pressures that cause them to experiment with drugs or become involved in gangs or violent activities.”

According to the U.S. Dept. of Justice, the program benefits local communities by:

*humanizing the police so young people can begin to relate to officers as people

*permitting students to see officers in a helping role, not just an enforcement role

*opening lines of communication between law enforcement and youth

*positioning officers to serve as conduits to provide information beyond drug-related topics and

*opening a dialogue between schools, police and parents to deal with other issues.

For more information on how to start a D.A.R.E. program in your school, contact: Bruce Olin at 502-782-1780.