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St. Paul, MN—Minnesota D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) welcomed 22 newly certified D.A.R.E. officers from the 47th class trained in Minnesota.  These officers recently completed their two weeks of training hosted by the Minnesota BCA – a D.A.R.E. America certified training unit.  Four departments were re-establishing a program or starting a new program.  The Columbia Heights Police Department welcomes 2 of the first Somali D.A.R.E. Officers.

Minnesota D.A.R.E. is celebrating 28 years of programming in 2018 and is proud to welcome a new generation of D.A.R.E. officers.

Minnesota Law Enforcement Agencies with Newly Certified D.A.R.E. Officers:

Rice County Sheriff’s Office; Thief River Falls Police Department; Coon Rapids Police Department; Koochiching County Sheriff’s Office; Marshall County Sheriff’s Office; Columbia Heights Police Department (2); Blue Earth County Co. Sheriff’s Office; Plymouth Police Department; Virginia Police Department; Blackduck Police Department; Itasca County Sheriff’s Office (2); Keewatin Police Department; West St. Paul Police Department; Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office; Bemidji Police Department; New York Mills Police Department; Maple Grove Police Department; Kanabec County Sheriff’s Office; Northfield Police Department.

First Somali D.A.R.E. Officers:

Minnesota D.A.R.E. is excited to expand our D.A.R.E. instructor base to include Officer Mohammed Farah and Ibrahim Farah. We commend Columbia Heights Police Chief Lenny Austin for being a leader in the country. These officers will also become involved in Minnesota D.A.R.E.’s – DARE Diversity Council which is working to make sure D.A.R.E. in Minnesota meets the needs of all of the students we serve.

Chief Lenny Austin – Columbia Heights Police Department:

“The Columbia Heights Police Department has been involved with Minnesota D.A.R.E. for over 25 years. D.A.R.E. provides us a great opportunity to partner with the Columbia Heights School District on an important topic in a community that continues to change. Officers Mohammed Farah and Ibrahim Farah are looking forward to being involved in working with the youth of our community to bring them the important messages that the D.A.R.E. program teaches.”

Officer Mohammed Farah:

“I recently graduated from D.A.R.E. school as a D.A.R.E. Instructor. I was presented the opportunity by my department, the Columbia Heights Police Department. At first, I didn’t know what I was signing up for. Although I was familiar with the program, I never received any D.A.R.E. education when I went to school. This course was two weeks long and it was pretty intense but at the same time rewarding. This program absolutely prepares kids on how to combat drugs and violence in their lives. Also, I believe that the information that the kids will receive from the D.A.R.E. program will help them prepare for adulthood. Although this program can benefit any community, I truly believe is much needed in our community. Now that Officer Ibrahim and I have the necessary training, we hope to bring that knowledge into our communities.”

Officer Ibrahim Farah:

“I have recently finished taking the D.A.R.E instructor program at the BCA. The course was amazing and the mentors were highly educated on the subject. This is a program that is much needed in our schools. Not only will officers assist students on how to deal with difficult situations they come across such as drugs, violence, and crime; it encourages open communication between our youth and local law enforcement officers. D.A.R.E instructors, along with parents, teachers, healthcare professionals, and other interested parties will help contribute so that our children will make safe and responsible decisions so they may become better citizens. We want our children to take part in civil aspects in our society. We also want them to continue to stay in school in order to attain higher education. I believe having students participate in the D.A.R.E program is a fundamental stepping stone toward this goal. It is also a much-needed program in our community.”

The training is very intense and comprehensive. Officers must attend, participate, and pass classes, hosted by the BCA under the direction of D.A.R.E. America. Officers are then given the D.A.R.E. curriculum at no charge and will continue to be supported in their teaching efforts by Minnesota D.A.R.E., Inc., the non-profit organization that administers the program for the state of Minnesota. These officers will be joining our currently certified officers; instructing approx. 65,000-70,000 students and their families annually.

Minnesota D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) is a prevention and education program that advocates and educates for healthy and safe children. D.A.R.E. serves young people and their families teaching the skills to make positive decisions, provides education on safe and healthy lifestyles and gives the tools to enable them to resist engaging in negative and violent behaviors.

For more information, contact MNDARE@aol.com or go to www.mndare.org.