Alexander City Police Department Cpl. Marcus Billups, left, is one of Alexander City Schools’ resource officers. D.A.R.E. (Alexander City) is a drug-prevention program for students which is taught by ACPD officers and is primarily funded by the Lake Martin Area United Way.

It’s a school tradition to learn D.A.R.E. in elementary school in Alexander City. Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) has been part of Alexander City Schools’ education since 1990.

D.A.R.E. teaches students tools to resist alcohol, drugs and high-risk behaviors. The program also helps students develop communication, conflict resolution, self-esteem and decision-making skills, self-purpose, independence and positive alternatives to bad behavior, according to the City of Alexander City’s website.

Officers David Johnson, Brian Ray and Cpl. Marcus Billups are school resource officers at the city schools respectively.

In addition to teaching D.A.R.E., the officers also teach Gang Resistance Education and Training (GREAT) at Stephens Elementary School. The police department also does outreach at Benjamin Russell.

“So we cover all of our schools with some type of educational component throughout the years,” Orr said. “(D.A.R.E.) all in and all has a had a great improvement as far as students building a relationship with the officers.”

The program has helped children be more comfortable around officers and help pass along information to them. The programs help students see the officers as role models, Orr said.

“It helps in fostering positive relationships and that’s what the program is all about — one-on-one with kids,” Orr said.

To learn more about the Alexander City D.A.R.E. program, visit www.alexandercityal.gov/police/page/dare

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