The Fulton Police Department has been teaching the DARE program since 1989. Major Roger Rice taught the program for 5 years before Lt. Andre Cook joined the department. Major Rice and Lt. Cook taught the program together for ten years. Last year Officer MacKenzie Elmore joined the DARE team, teaching three 5th grade classes at McIntire Elementary School. Major Rice continues to teach at Bartley, Bush and St. Peters Elementary schools, for a total of nine 5th grade classes.
We have graduated over 5,000 students from the DARE program since we began. All of the students in Fulton Schools from 5th grade through 12th grade are now DARE graduates
DARE is a life skills program which promotes good decision making. Making good decisions is a life skill, teaching kids to think ahead about the consequences before making a decision. Much of this is taught using skits and role plays. Teaching them not only to say no, but also showing them how to think on their feet. DARE teaches students how to say no, and feel good about it.
DARE is aimed at Alcohol, Tobacco, and Marijuana use. Often referred to as “gateway drugs”, these drugs are the most commonly used among young people. The theory is that if young persons will reject the use of these drugs the likelihood of moving to harder drugs will be significantly reduced.
DARE is an excellent example of Community Policing at it’s best. Schools and Parents working together with law enforcement to combat a serious problem, drug use by our children.
DARE has been a success in Fulton, with positive comments from teachers, students, and parents. Surveys done at the 7th grade level have shown a decrease in marijuana and tobacco use after the 1st year of teaching DARE.
Do programs like DARE really make an impact on teen drug use? A national survey done by the National Institute on Drug Abuse indicates: “…cigarette smoking is at lowest levels in the history of the survey and overall drug use among teens and adolescents is continuing to decline…” says Dr. Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
Marijuana use dropped steadily during the early 1990’s. It has been on a gradual increase since the mid 90’s, due in part to a decline in the perceived risk of harm associated with marijuana use.
Significant declines have been made in the use of alcohol used by high school students from 2006 to 2011 according to the NIDA.
DARE cannot take full responsibility for this decline but it has undoubtedly made a significant contribution to it.
Since 9/11, the federal government pulled the funding for drug education, diverting the funds to homeland security. Local school districts and police departments, some already on tight budgets, were forced to pick up the tab. Because of the lack of local funding and shortage of manpower, several police departments across the country were forced to drop DARE. This however in no way indicated that the DARE program was not successful.
We are very fortunate that the City of Fulton has opted to continue funding the program. This department has received numerous calls of support from parents asking that the program not be discontinued.
We are very proud of our DARE program and happy to be able to offer it as a service to the citizens of the City of Fulton.