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Montgomery Police Officer Bruce Heddy receives his D.A.R.E. Officer certification from his training mentor, Officer Kate Proscia of the Branchburg Police Department. In the background is Rafael Morales of D.A.R.E. America.

MONTGOMERY – For a generation of school kids in fifth and sixth grades, Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) was a gateway program created to combat rising drug use in the 1980s.

By bringing police officers into the classroom at a critical time before kids reached the temptations of adolescence, the lessons of how to deal with the pressures of drug and alcohol use and bullying were delivered to still-impressionable minds.

DARE was popular and successful, but like many programs not at the core of the curriculum, D.A.R.E. began to vanish from schools as budget cutbacks forced difficult decisions.

But now, with the nation on edge because of school shootings and the rising use of opioids, there may be no better time to revive the D.A.R.E. program.

That’s one reason Capt. Thomas Wain, the township’s police director, sent two of the department’s officers — Bruce Heddy and Sean Devlin — to an intensive, 80-hour D.A.R.E. officer training course in March at the Somerville Elks in Bridgewater.

Twenty-five police officers from throughout New Jersey (including Watchung, Warren, Bernardsville, South Amboy, Plainsboro and the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Department) along with officers from Virginia, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Vermont and the U.S. Coast Guard in Kodiak, Alaska, graduated from the course taught by a D.A.R.E. America educator from New York state, a facilitator from Connecticut and specially trained veteran D.A.R.E. officers from Maryland and New Jersey.

For Wain, who once was a D.A.R.E. officer in Montgomery schools, it was an easy decision to send the officers to the training.

The lessons the kids learn in D.A.R.E. last a lifetime, Wain said, adding that he has maintained “lifelong relationships” from classes he taught two decades ago.

In fact, one of the graduates from the D.A.R.E. training, Officer Alex Mann of the Bernardsville Police Department, remembered Wain from a D.A.R.E. class.

“It’s come full circle,” Wain said.

The primary goal of D.A.R.E., Wain said, is to establish a trusting and lasting relationship between the kids and police officers so that as the students grow, they will believe that they can go to a police officer with a problem or report suspicious activity.

“They get to know you as a person,” Wain said. “It’s a matter of trust.”

At a time when anxiety is high about school violence, that trusting relationship, established in what Wain said is a “non-confrontational setting,” may be a key to preventing a tragedy if kids realize they can tell police about suspicious behavior.

Wain’s experience as a D.A.R.E. officer led him to becoming more immersed in Montgomery schools, from attending plays and concerts to coaching varsity softball.

“I loved going to the classroom each day,” he said. “The kids ask amazing questions.”

Exactly how the new D.A.R.E. officers will be used in schools is still to be decided between the police department and the school district, Wain said.

The school district was undergoing a security audit starting March 26 and the results will be released later this spring.

Sending the police officers to D.A.R.E. training had the support of the Township Committee.

“I am a fan of the program,” said Mayor Mark Conforti. “I met Capt. Wain when he was our D.A.R.E. officer years ago.”

From myCentralJersey.com

D.A.R.E. Comes Back to Northside

Walterboro police officers helping to push an anti-drug message to a local elementary school. Students who attend Forest Hills Elementary in Walterboro will be receiving a D.A.R.E. course, thanks to new D.A.R.E.-Certified officer Rusty Davis. Davis is a Lance Corporal with the WPD who received his certification through the national anti-drug program last year.

D.A.R.E. Program Returns to Saranac Lake

SARANAC LAKE – After an eight-year hiatus, Saranac Lake School District has brought back the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program. The D.A.R.E. program has been revised using a new “keepin’ it REAL” curriculum. Students are assigned to write an essay expressing their thoughts and ideas about what they learned during the D.A.R.E. program.

D.A.R.E. Returns to Anne Arundel County, Maryland

The return of D.A.R.E. to Anne Arundel County was announced by County Executive Steve Schuh, Anne Arundel County Public Schools Superintendent George Arlotto, and Police Chief Timothy Altomare. D.A.R.E., which was part of the county schools’ curriculum from the 1990s to 2003, will be taught at Annapolis, Corkran, and Lindale middle schools starting in February this year.

D.A.R.E. Program Comes to Gwinn

The Forsyth Township Police Department has initiated a new Drug Abuse Resistance Education — or D.A.R.E. — program in the Gwinn Area Community Schools. D.A.R.E. was taught in schools throughout Marquette County in the past. Last fall Sergeant Jesse Cadwell attended D.A.R.E. training in Virginia and can now teach the curriculum.

Groveland Police Restart D.A.R.E. Program

GROVELAND — After a 12-year hiatus, the Groveland Police Department’s Drug Abuse Resistance Education program has been restarted and, according to Chief Jeffrey Gillen, it has been well received by school officials and parents.

Groveland Detective Josh Sindoni (in photo), a three-year member of the department, is the town’s D.A.R.E. officer.

D.A.R.E. Program Returns to Nelson’s Elementaries

D.A.R.E. Essay Finalists Cady Marrs (from left) and Jacob Willoughby, Essay Winner Karley Campbell and Nelson County Sheriff David Hill at Tye River Elementary School on Dec. 5 LYNCHBURG — After a four-year hiatus, the Nelson County Sheriff’s Office has brought back...

Teaching Kids to Make Safe, Responsible Decisions

Students in a fifth-grade class at Herkimer Elementary School were given a scenario Thursday where a girl who smokes was going to a party. Some of the students offered solutions about what they would do. One said to not go. Another said to go, but if the friend started smoking to say you had to go home. Another said to just walk away.

 
 
 
 
 
 

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