REUNITED AND IT FEELS SO GOOD: The D.A.R.E. resource officers posed for a group photo during their opening ceremony and reception on Monday afternoon.
THOMASVILLE- Every year, Georgia D.A.R.E., or Drug Abuse Resistance Education, resource officers have to attend an updated training seminar. For a week, officers from all across the state meet in a different town and learn the newest rules and procedures.

This year, the D.A.R.E. training seminar is being held in Thomasville at TCCHS’ Board of Education building on N. Pinetree Boulevard. Resource officers all the way from the Georgia-Tennessee border were in attendance.

The officers held their commencement orientation and reception Monday afternoon.

The week-long seminar will take place in the auditorium and consist of various classes. During this week, the officers are treated to bowling, a barbecue and various activities like swimming and basketball at the YMCA.

D.A.R.E. vendors were set up outside the meeting to allow officers to order their supplies and merchandise to distribute at schools and other visits.

Sheriff Carlton Powell opened the meeting and welcomed all the officers.

Powell noted that D.A.R.E. plays a major role in the community and there is a lot that “has gone on to enforce the need for security.”

“Nobody can have anything anymore without security, so we realized that we need to instruct children on some of the principles of D.A.R.E.,” Powell said.

D.A.R.E. is a program that helps educate the public, specifically students, on substance abuse resistance. The officers often visit local schools to teach these anti-drug principles.

Public Information Officer Capt. Steve Jones then took the stage to extend the welcome and thank the program’s local sponsors, such as Balfour Lumber and Suzie Q. He then laid out the itinerary and schedule for the week.

After their orientation, the resource officers attended a reception, where they socialized and enjoyed refreshments. Officers often bring their families to these programs, which has created a small, tight-knit community over the past couple years.

Annual events like this allow these families and resource officers to catch up with each other, while also brushing up on their fundamental training and knowledge of the D.A.R.E. program.

Darlene Crider, the Georgia state training coordinator for D.A.R.E. and employee of Lumpkin County Sheriff’s office, said that this convention is a chance for all of the officers to “get together and to network.”

“Our families come to these conferences and they kind of grow up here together,” Crider said. “We have the chance not only to train, which is the number one thing that we do, but we have evening events and stuff going on during the day.”

Community members are encouraged to engage and say “hello” to the multiple D.A.R.E. officers they may see in their specialized vehicles throughout the week.

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