Commitment to D.A.R.E. shines in Pierce County
PRESCOTT — Pierce County’s commitment to Drug Abuse Resistance Education is evident.
On Thursday, Feb. 2, Prescott schools hosted D.A.R.E. officer training exercises for the sixth year in a row.
Twenty-five potential D.A.R.E. officers tested their newly learned drug education skills at Malone Elementary School, Malone Intermediate School and Prescott Middle School after taking part in a two-week course at the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension in St. Paul, Minn.
The lessons presented to Prescott students serve as their final tests before becoming full-fledged D.A.R.E. officers, Pierce County D.A.R.E. officer Allen Wojcik said.
“Officers are required to present one fifth grade, 45-minute lesson, and one K-4 grade, 15-minute lesson,” Wojcik said.
Prescott was chosen as the location due to its schools’ sizes.
“Being large enough, yet small enough to effectively make it work,” Wojcik said. “Its proximity to the actual training location.”
While no local officers completed the program this year — Wojcik completed his training last year — officers from across Wisconsin and Minnesota took part. Wojcik’s role is to assist the trainees, not only on their last training day, but as they go forward in their new roles.
“Pierce County Sheriff’s Office offers a helping hand to all the new D.A.R.E. officers after they go out on their own,” Wojcik said. “From answering questions on classroom teaching, D.A.R.E. graduations, how to gain community support, and fundraising ideas. Not all the officers will have the same support that Pierce County offers to us, so we try to return the deed.”
Those who volunteer to help new D.A.R.E. officers in their roles are Pierce County Sheriff Nancy Hove, Lt. Steve Albarado, Sgt. Chad Koranda and Wojcik.
“None of this would be possible without the great assistance from Malone Elementary guidance counselor Mr. Kevin Haglund and Principal Deanne Edlefsen and staff between all three schools,” Wojcik said.
The D.A.R.E. program was launched nationwide in 1983 to provide comprehensive education to students in grades K-12. The program addresses drugs, violence, bullying, internet safety and other high-risk issues faced by students.