D.A.R.E. program may make a comeback

Students take part in the DARE program in this Morinville News file photo.

by Lucie Roy
Morinville News Correspondent

The Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program was removed this year from the Morinville Detachment Community Initiatives program due to the time it takes to run the program and to the current shortage of RCMP members.

D.A.R.E. is a nine- to ten-week program taught by police officers at the Grade 5 and 6 that teaches students good decision-making skills to help them lead safe and healthy lives.

At the Nov. 14 council meeting, the D.A.R.E. program was brought up by Deputy Mayor Stephen Dafoe as a request to restore the program using photo enforcement revenues.

Dafoe’s motion allocates up to $5000 of 2016 photo enforcement revenues to pay for a facilitator to bring the program back into the schools.

Town Administration will explore the opportunity to have an outside resource to a maximum of $5000 and bring something back to Council for the Nov. 28 Regular Council meeting.

Dafoe said he’d previously discussed the topic of providing the program with Community Peace Officer (CPO) Sergeant William Norton. During the conversation it was mentioned there currently are two CPO officers who are qualified to offer the program, however, one is off on leave presently. Norton suggested the town could bring in an outside resource that is trained to offer this program in schools. Norton estimated $5000 would cover the cost of a facilitator for the nine-week program.

Dafoe’s motion was to do precisely that.

“As Council knows, we made requests to find out how much money we do have in that [photo enforcement] fund. I believe this program falls under our Public Safety Requirement for that [town policy on spending photo enforcement monies]. It [D.A.R.E.] connects youth with Law Enforcement in a positive way at a crucial time in their life. I will not get into a debate whether the D.A.R.E. program is effective or not. But I think it does speak to the choices, the good choices in life, and puts young students in contact with law enforcement, so they have that connection [ad knowledge] that law enforcement is not a group that needs to be feared.”

The motion was carried unanimously.

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