This year 36 million school children around the world (26 million in the U.S.) will benefit from D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), the highly acclaimed program that gives kids the skills they need to avoid involvement in drugs, gangs, and violence. D.A.R.E. was founded in 1983 in Los Angeles and has proven so successful that it is now being implemented in nearly 80 percent of our nation's school districts and in more than 54 countries around the world. In Henry County, D.A.R.E. is a Deputy Sheriff-led series of classroom lessons that teaches children from kindergarten through 8th grade how to resist peer pressure and live productive drug and violence-free lives.
The D.A.R.E. curriculum is designed to be taught by police officers whose training and experience gave them the background needed to answer the sophisticated questions often posed by young students about drugs and crime. Prior to entering the D.A.R.E. program, officers undergo 80 hours of special training in areas such as child development, classroom management, teaching techniques, and communication skills.
D.A.R.E. goes beyond traditional drug abuse and violence prevention programs. 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.
D.A.R.E. is universally viewed as an internationally recognized model of community policing. The United States Department of Justice has identified how D.A.R.E. benefits local communities:
• D.A.R.E. "humanizes" the police: that is, young people can begin to relate to officers as people.
• D.A.R.E. permits students to see officers in a helping role, not just an enforcement role.
• D.A.R.E. opens lines of communication between law enforcement and youth.
• D.A.R.E. Officers can serve as conduits to provide information beyond drug-related topics.
• D.A.R.E. opens dialogue between the school, police, and parents to deal with other issues.
D.A.R.E. is taught at Lakeland, Sherwood, Windsor, Calhoun, Leesville, Shawnee Mound, Davis R-12, Montrose and St. Mary’s.
The Henry County Sheriff’s Office was the first rural Sheriff’s Office in the State of Missouri to teach the D.A.R.E. program which began here in 1985 under the direction of Sheriff Jerome Wareham. Deputy Keith Johnson was the first D.A.R.E. Officer for the Henry County Sheriff’s Office.
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