"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke

Reaching into the Community - D.A.R.E & S.R.O.

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A unique blend of police officer and teacher, the officers in this unit spend their time educating students and other members of the public on legal and safety issues.

Two school resource officers, Sara Bednarik and Emily Craighead, are assigned full-time to the city's two middle schools. There they instruct students, but also serve as a resource for students and staff as well as investigators of any crimes that may occur on school grounds.

These officers, along with Officer Phil Goff have also taken the national Drug Abuse Resistance Education/DARE program into the city's elementary schools.

When they are not in schools, these three officers are available to provide valuable information to residents and business owners on how they can better protect themselves against crime.

Sara Bednarik 913-663-9371 Leawood Elementary & Middle, Nativity
Emily Craighead 913-663-9375 Prairie Star Elementary & Middle, St. Michael's
Phil Goff 913-663-9343 Brookwood, Corinth, Cure of Ars

Frequently Asked Questions about D.A.R.E

When did D.A.R.E. start?

D.A.R.E. was conceived in 1983 by Chief Daryl Gates of the Los Angeles Police Department and developed by Dr. Ruth Rich of the Los Angeles Unified School District as a substance abuse prevention program for grades K-12. The program was piloted with ten officers assigned to instruct the curriculum at 50 elementary schools.

Today's program reaches over 30 million students. It is taught in all 50 states, 17 foreign countries, and the Department of Defense Dependent Schools worldwide. D.A.R.E. has over 20,000 certified officers instructing the program.

The Leawood Police Department adopted the D.A.R.E. program in 1989 when Sergeant, later Chief, Sid Mitchell presented the program for the first time to students at Brookwood Elementary School. It was a tremendous success, and the program has expanded from there.

What is D.A.R.E.?

D.A.R.E. is a pro-active attempt to address the drug and violence problem at its foundation. It is a prevention effort to solve drug and violence problems of our youth. D.A.R.E. focuses on teaching students the facts about alcohol, drugs, violence, and gangs. It offers them the practical skills necessary to resist negative peer pressure and to build and maintain high self-esteem. D.A.R.E. uses a core curriculum consisting of 17 hour-long weekly lessons taught to fifth or sixth-graders. The emphasis of the program is placed at these grades since, statistically, experimental drug use for most kids starts at or around the seventh grade.

D.A.R.E. has four 20-30 minute lessons for kindergarten through second grade addressing safety issues, recognizing and reporting unsafe or harmful situations, and learning about having good feelings about themselves. Third and fourth graders receive five 30-40 minute lessons concerning the importance of rules, drug safety, learning to say no, and self-esteem.

The middle school curriculum is taught in ten consecutive 45-60 minute lessons in either the seventh or eighth grade. Some of the lessons taught are: drug use and abuse; drugs, violence, and the law; forming positive friendships; and resolving conflicts without violence.

Who teaches D.A.R.E.?

The classroom instruction is provided by specially trained police officers who have received 80 hours of intensive training. These officers remain in school all day, one day a week for the whole school year. D.A.R.E. officers can be seen not only teaching classes but in the lunch room, on the playground, and on field trips giving students the opportunity to develop positive relationships with law enforcement officers.

Is D.A.R.E. working?

According to the findings of a Gallup poll (July 1993) of students who have completed the D.A.R.E. program, more than 90 percent of those polled believe that the D.A.R.E. program provided them with the skills to avoid drugs, alcohol, and violence, and it further increased their self-confidence in dealing effectively with negative peer pressure.

Approximately 94 percent of those students surveyed indicated that they now know how to respond when a friend asks them to do something they don't want to do. In terms of personal behavior and attitudes toward drugs and alcohol, 93 percent of students surveyed reported they have never tried marijuana, cocaine, heroin, crack, or inhalants; 75 percent stated they have never tried a cigarette; and 70 percent stated they have never tried alcohol. Perhaps most important, seven of ten students stated that alcohol use is very dangerous, and more than nine of ten students believe drug use is very dangerous to their health and well-being.

According to the National Institute of Justice update (September 1994), the study revealed that "D.A.R.E. has been extremely successful at placing substance abuse education in the nation's schools." Support for D.A.R.E. and user satisfaction were reported as "strong." In fact, compared to other prevention programs, D.A.R.E. received "substantially higher" ratings from such key audiences as school staff, students, parents and community representatives.

D.A.R.E. showed to be most effective at increasing students' knowledge about substance abuse and enhancing their social skills. The effects of D.A.R.E. include increased positive attitudes toward law enforcement officers, the ability to resist drugs, and building of self-esteem.

The study also found D.A.R.E. to have appeal to students regardless of race. "Students receptivity to D.A.R.E. was rated higher than for other programs, particularly in districts with large proportions of minority students."

Demand for D.A.R.E. is also reported as high. The study discovered that more than 40 percent of the drug use prevention coordinators plan to expand the program, and 21 percent of those districts which do not have the program said they are interested in adopting it.

How is D.A.R.E. funded?

Initially, the Leawood Police Department took advantage of State grant monies to assist with salaries and materials needed for the D.A.R.E. program. Unfortunately, those grant monies were denied after the completion of our second fiscal year. This created a problem because the Police Department was unable to absorb the costs of the program and classroom materials. The Police Department did, however, commit to providing the monies needed for the D.A.R.E. officers salaries.

The Police Department then reached out to the community requesting financial assistance to help pay for the needed classroom materials and a number of businesses and social groups stepped forward to fund this program. All these contributions and the support of the community have made the Leawood Police Department's D.A.R.E. program what it is today.

If you are interested in helping the Leawood Police Department's D.A.R.E. program or have questions, please call or stop by the Police Department.