Utah’s D.A.R.E and School Resource Officer of the Year Jeremy Brown with the “Cool” D.A.R.E. Car
CENTERVILLE, UT (ABC4 UTAH) – A Centerville Police Officer was just named Utah’s D.A.R.E. officer of the year and And Utah’s School Resource Officer of the year. No one has ever won both awards at the same time.
In this week’s Behind the Badge police profile we meet Officer Jeremy Brown.
Welcome to D.A.R.E. class at Reading Elementary School. It’s one of four Centerville elementary schools where 6th graders learn about Drug Abuse Resistance Education. “Thinking first. Which is hard to do when we are stressed.” And the man behind the messages – is Centerville Police Officer Jeremy Brown. “I have the opportunity to talk to kids and let them know police officers are not scary. We don’t want to hurt you. The things you see on the news are isolated incidents – there not what we do everyday. I get to teach them that we love you guys and want to serve you and were not somebody to be afraid of.”
And that teaching continues just down the road at Centerville Jr. High School.
Centerville has D.A.R.E. for 6th Graders, Law Related Education for 7th Graders and advanced D.A.R.E. for 8th graders. And as the school resource officer here – Brown says he gets to make a big difference. “Since we started putting police officers in our schools here in Centerville – having the program where they are taught three years in a row – our juvenile crime dropped over 50 percent the first year. And it has stayed at that lower level ever since we’ve done it.”
While Officer Brown makes an impact with kids today – he says becoming an officer was something he wanted to do since he was a 5 year old kid. “A Kaysville police officer came to our house because we had a broken window and they came to investigate. And I saw him standing there in his blue uniform, with a shiny badge and a name tag and I thought ‘Holy Cow, that is a superhero in my house.’”
Now he is that officer in the uniform. And he hopes, in someway, to be a superhero in someone else’s life. “You see a lot of crazy things that most people don’t see. It is an interesting job. Sometimes it is a heart wrenching job. And you see some really awful things. But if you can put yourself in a position to help a person the best you can – improve their lives on sometimes the worst day of their lives – it makes a big difference.”
As for the awards – Utah D.A.R.E. Officer of the Year and Utah School Resource Officer of the year – Officer Brown told me. “I’m getting awarded for having fun at work.”
D.A.R.E. VEHICLE STORY
When Officer Brown began his D.A.R.E. teaching duties – a lot of the students asked my about his not so D.A.R.E. regular old police car. “The first year of teaching D.A.R.E. all the kids were saying why don’t you have a cool D.A.R.E. car – like Davis County?”
Brown jokingly told the kids to write the chief of police a letter and ask him. So, the kids did just that. They sent letters to the chief. But according to Brown the money wasn’t there the first year for a a ‘cool’ D.A.R.E. car. As a joke, Brown says the chief had some decals put on a model car and gave that to him. The next year the police department got a car and a couple of local businesses helped turn it into that so called ‘cool’ D.A.R.E. vehicle. “So, now it looks like a giant American flag and no one can miss it rolling down the street – they all know I’m coming.”