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MADISONVILLE, Ky. (2/22/19) — A police officer dedicated to Drug Abuse Resistance Education walks through the doors of elementary schools weekdays, with the mindset to lead youth down the right path.

His goal is to teach children attending West Broadway, Grapevine, Pride, Jesse Stuart and Christ the King elementary schools how to make healthy and responsible decisions early on.

The officer also addresses issues like bullying and how to report it, confidence, stress management, risk, peer pressure, how to be a good listener, good citizen and helping others over the course of the 10-lesson program.

Madisonville Police Department Resource and D.A.R.E. Officer Jason Barnes says it is fulfilling to connect with community youth and spend time with them.

“With any information that we teach kids, whether it’s education or real-life situations, some kids take it and apply it to their daily lives,” Barnes said.

Recently, MPD’s D.A.R.E. program vehicle was struck along the highway, and it was totaled, Chief Chris Taylor said. The department repurposed one of its fleet sedans for the program, and unveiled the newly designed squad car this week.

“It’s not a brand new car, but we have a brand new design on the Ford Interceptor sedan,” the chief said. “We went back to the true D.A.R.E. design with the red lettering. Everyone who has seen it so far within the department thinks it’s awesome. Madisonville Tire donated new tires and wheels, and we are very appreciative of that.”

Barnes recalled his very first group of fifth-graders from the D.A.R.E. program, saying they are currently juniors in high school.

“I see they are getting their driver’s licenses, and they’re out working in the community. It seems like they are doing very well for themselves. It’s definitely rewarding for me.”

Last year, Hopkins County Schools partnered with MPD to place a resource officer at each elementary and middle school.

The D.A.R.E. program was launched in 1983 by Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates and Los Angeles Unified School District, with the mission to empower students to respect others and lead lives free from violence, substance abuse and other dangerous behaviors.

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