Shaun Lisle, a Deputy Sheriff from the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, talks with students at Robert Frost Elementary School.
On Thursday, October 2, teams of police officers and sheriff’s deputies from all around Ohio visited Robert Frost and Hawthorne elementary schools to conduct mini D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) lessons and socialize with students. They engaged in role playing and shared information about alcohol and tobacco resistance. They also imparted ideas about using effective communication tools to deal with peer pressure. The experience gave the D.A.R.E. officers in training needed practice in interacting with children and responding to their questions.
D.A.R.E. Officer Training takes place only once a year in Ohio. Westerville City Schools was contacted to host the first instruction of these new D.A.R.E. officers because of its long standing instruction of the D.A.R.E curriculum in the district and the proactive collaboration between the Westerville Division of Police and the Westerville City School District.
In order to be certified to instruct D.A.R.E., a police officer/sheriff’s deputy is first interviewed by a panel of law enforcement executives, D.A.R.E. officers and school administrators. If approved, the officer must then complete two weeks (80 hours) of intensive training by Ohio’s accredited Training Center. Ohio’s D.A.R.E. program is sponsored by the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police and the Law Enforcement Foundation. Officers are trained by the Law Enforcement Foundation which has a contract with D.A.R.E. America to conduct the only D.A.R.E. Officer Training in Ohio.
The D.A.R.E. program is an internationally recognized, model program created in 1983 by the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Unified School District. D.A.R.E. provides students from kindergarten through high school with the skills necessary to recognize and resist pressures to experiment with drugs and to avoid gangs and violence. Lessons emphasize self-esteem, decision making, interpersonal communications skills, the consequences of drug abuse, conflict resolution and positive alternatives to substance abuse.