LBT Officer Heads Up New Jersey DARE Association, Aiming to Help Combat State Drug Epidemic

Apr 26, 2017
Courtesy of: Long Beach Township Police Department Members of the New Jersey DARE Officers Association met at the Ocean County Police Academy on April 24.

A Long Beach Township police officer was among the members of the New Jersey DARE Officers Association who met for the first time this past Monday, at the Ocean County Police Academy, to discuss the drug abuse epidemic.

“This is a very important association bringing together all the DARE officers from the state to help rebuild and strengthen DARE in New Jersey so we can help combat the drug epidemic in our state through drug, alcohol and bullying resistance education,” said association President Megan E. Keller, a community police officer for Long Beach Township.

Officers from Atlantic, Bergen, Gloucester, Mercer, Middlesex, Morris, Ocean, Salem, Somerset, Union and Warren counties were in attendance at the meeting. “In light of the growing prescription medication abuse and heroin epidemic, DARE officers are uniting to increase proactive education initiatives to keep adolescents safe from drugs and violence,” said Capt. Joseph Rampolla of the Park Ridge Police Department.

DARE, which launched in 1983, is a K-12 education program taught in schools throughout America, as well as 52 other countries. The curriculum addresses drugs, violence, bullying, internet safety and other high-risk circumstances. As the website dare.net states, “DARE envisions a world in which students everywhere are empowered to respect others and choose to lead lives free from violence, substance abuse, and other dangerous behaviors.”

“Our DARE program here on Long Beach Island starts as early as pre-K, with picture cards and short safety lessons,” Keller explained, “and the full 10-week DARE ‘Keeping It Real’ curriculum is taught to our fifth grade students at the LBI Grade School.

“Not only do students get important lessons about resisting drugs and preventing bullying,” she added, “but they also get to form relationships with police officers, and in our current climate, I believe that’s extremely important.”  —J.K.-H.

 

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