One Fayette County Sheriff’s Office deputy will return the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program to Miami Trace Local Schools while also serving as full-time campus safety officer.
Campus safety officer Adam Greenlee will begin teaching fifth grade students the D.A.R.E. program on Monday. According to the Ohio D.A.R.E. website, the D.A.R.E. program is an internationally-recognized, model program created in 1983 by the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Unified School District. D.A.R.E. provides students from kindergarten through high school with the skills necessary to recognize and resist pressures to experiment with drugs and to avoid gangs and violence. Lessons emphasize self-esteem, decision-making, interpersonal communications skills, the consequences of drug abuse, conflict resolution and positive alternatives to substance abuse.
“After Dennis Cotner became ill, and he is unfortunately still dealing with his health issues and we feel very sorry for him, he needed to leave the agency so we contracted with another county to bring their D.A.R.E. officer in and finish out the program,” Fayette County Sheriff Vernon Stanforth said. “Franklin County did that for us back in 2013 and the officer in particular had already finished with his classes for the year, but he got some stuff together and came to finish up the year. We couldn’t work out him returning, so we didn’t have the instructor qualified to actually do the program. We have had that gap for a couple of years and now we have so many new young deputies. The requirement is at least two years of law enforcement before they can go become certified as a D.A.R.E. instructor.”
According to Stanforth, the Miami Trace Local School District contracted with them for a campus safety officer (CSO) and that had became an assignment for the day shift patrol. Officers would be rotated out of the patrol unit to handle the campus area of Miami Trace for their shift. Stanforth said that upwards of 1,500 people or more can be in that area every day and that it needs to be covered.
“The idea was that we had two new buildings and I wanted the guys to get very familiar with them,” Stanforth said. “The best way to do that is not to go in on a Saturday, do a walk-through or take a tour. It is to actually work in those buildings. So for the last three years, every officer in the agency has worked at the school campus. So they basically know the physical plant and campus area. They know everything, where the doors are, boiler rooms, fire hydrants. They also get to know the kids and the kids get to know a uniformed deputy on a casual basis. When we go into Miami Trace, it is not a traumatic experience for the kids. They are used to seeing uniforms in that school everyday.”
That was a temporary set-up, as throughout that time Stanforth said they were looking for someone who was qualified and interested to take over the D.A.R.E. program. Stanforth said that Greenlee approached him and FCSO Chief Deputy Andy Bivens late last school year. He seemed interested and willing to take the qualification steps necessary.
“He started working in there late last school year and we had interest from Greenlee in making that his assignment as he enjoyed working the school,” Bivens said. “It kind of flowed together because the sheriff was interested in reviving the D.A.R.E. program and getting someone involved back into that program and bringing it to the schools.”
Greenlee said that he is originally from the county, his grandmother carried mail for the Washington Court House Post Office for 32 years, and his grandfather was a local farmer who is now retired. He is married to his wife Rachael and has a 3-year-old son named Gabriel. He said he went to Miami Trace until his sophomore year and then moved to Rogersville, Ala., where he graduated from Lauderdale County. He decided to return and joined the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office where he has been for about three years now.
“In June, as soon as the school year let out, I went and became an ALICE instructor,” Greenlee said. “I then went to Indiana for a two-week D.A.R.E. training put on by D.A.R.E. America. From there, just before school started I went to become a school resource officer as well. Everything is going good so far this year and the kids are getting back into the swing of things. I enjoy the full-time because the kids get to know me and the parents get into a pattern of seeing me and they know who they can talk to. It has benefited me because when I went on calls and the kids saw me, recognized me, they ease up.”
Greenlee said the D.A.R.E. program has changed in recent years. The change moved toward a D.A.R.E. curriculum and that it is no longer just about saying no to drugs and violence, it is about teaching the kids life skills. It helps them in how to identify and healthy ways to cope with stress, peer pressure, bullying and the difference between tattling, telling and reporting, as well as other life skills in general.
According to Greenlee, the D.A.R.E. curriculum is based in science and has several “Ph.Ds” that helped to write it.
“It’s the new D.A.R.E and I can’t wait to get it back into the schools,” Greenlee said. “The teachers are really excited about it, the students are as well. I have been in contact and they are ecstatic. This new D.A.R.E. has a lot of technology involved and these kids are getting much better at it day-by-day.”
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy