Tracy Darbonne

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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) – A Calcasieu Parish deputy is being recognized in a big way after spending the last two decades mentoring young adults as part of the D.A.R.E. program.

“It is unbelievable, you know, I’ve done this for some many years and acknowledged so many people and to be acknowledged after 28 years, it’s just wonderful,” said Capt. Tracy Darbonne.

Capt. Darbonne was recently honored with the Louisiana’s 2022 D.A.R.E. Lifetime Achievement Award.

“It’s probably one of the greatest accomplishments I’ve done in my career. Just thinking about all the students, the thousands of students that I’ve taught over the years, but you know if you could reach some of the students then that’s all that matters,” Darbonne said.

She says her inspiration comes from humble beginnings with memories of one of her favorite movies.

“When I was younger, my interest came from the CHiPS movie – I’m not sure if everybody knows CHiPS. And then after I started teaching D.A.R.E., I was able to meet Poncherelli, which was one of the guys from CHiPS, so that was just unbelievable,” she said. “They were motorcycle cops.”

Darbonne supervises all youth and D.A.R.E. officers and is responsible for teaching all the schools in Calcasieu Parish.

“The program is for 10 weeks, so we have to divide all of the schools up between the D.A.R.E. officers. We have 10 D.A.R.E officers and they teach the harmful effects of drugs, how to handle bullying, stress, peer pressure, so a lot of people think the D.A.R.E. program is just teaching the kids about drugs, but it’s so much more than that, it’s about life skills actually,” she said.

And the students are not the only ones she inspires, Darbonne’s daughter has also followed her mom’s path, and is currently a lieutenant at the sheriff’s office.

“Very, very proud of her, now I have big shoes to fill just trying to follow in her footsteps,” her daughter Brianni Phelps said.

“She always says, ‘mom it’s okay, don’t stress, its gonna happen,’ so definitely that has helped me,” Darbonne said.

“And what I learned from my mother is to treat everybody like family and to be a leader not a boss, and when you’re in a supervisor position to always have the motto of ‘do as I do and not do as I say,’” Phelps said.

The D.A.R.E. program will begin after the Labor Day holiday. Darbonne said you can always reach out to her by calling the Calcasieu Sheriff’s Office.

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Copyright © 2022 D.A.R.E. America.
All Rights Reserved.