Illinois Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) Training Team
Illinois State Police Department
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) has announced the selection of the Illinois Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) Team as its Officers of the Month for April 2003. The team, under the direction of the State Training Coordinator, Bureau Chief Terry James, includes Master Sergeant Gary Pearson, Sergeant Tim Drake, Sergeant James Minx, Sergeant Devin Stokes, Sergeant Frederick Williams, Trooper Frank Arceneaux, Trooper Dawn Ladd, Trooper Nena Myers and Trooper Beth Noyd.
Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) is a comprehensive prevention program designed to equip middle-school children with the life skills necessary to recognize and resist social pressures to experiment with tobacco, alcohol and other drugs. The original DARE program was created in 1983 through the collaborative efforts of the LAPD and the Los Angeles Unified School District. The 17-lesson core curriculum emphasizes the negative impact drugs have upon a person and offers students a basis to make informed decisions regarding their own non-drug use. DARE is a cooperative effort between law enforcement agencies, educators, students, parents and the local community. Through this union the DARE program has become the largest and most popular drug prevention curriculum in the world, reaching more than 80% of school districts nationwide.
In 1987, the Illinois State Police Department became the first state agency in the country to establish a DARE State Training Center. To date approximately 4,000 law enforcement officers throughout the state of Illinois have successfully completed this innovative program. As a result more than 2,000,000 Illinois children have had the opportunity to hear the important "no drug use" message and learn valuable techniques on how to resist using drugs. These impressive results are due solely to the team's commitment and dedication to our children and their unwavering belief in the DARE program.
The Illinois DARE Training Team is recognized nationwide. So respected is this elite team that they have been recruited to conduct training sessions in countless departments and agencies across the country visiting a total of 14 states, as well as in Canada and Barbados. During a recent recertification, the team received high marks for its proficiency in the war on drugs. In his final report, the certifying assessor stated, "The Illinois DARE Training Team is comprised of an exceptional, dedicated, caring staff which conducts a successful, quality training program." In 1998 the team received an Illinois State Police Department Unit Citation for its exemplary performance and outstanding contributions to the department and the community.
It is critically important to each member of the Illinois DARE training team that the officers who attend this program complete the rigorous two-week training confident that they too will make a difference in the lives of the children in their communities. The team presents five two-week training sessions and seven special training sessions each year. Although most of the team members live elsewhere, all training sessions are conducted in the city of Springfield, requiring these officers to remain separated from their families for weeks at a time throughout the year. This exceptional teamwork was recognized in a letter from the DARE America's Regional Director, Michael Lien, in February when he wrote, "I want to commend your excellent training team…I noted a dedicated training team that was joyfully working together…I sensed pride, commitment, and extreme passion in the room that day with each member of the team working toward a common goal. Teamwork among a diverse group of law enforcement officers is not an easy quality to achieve, but it existed in that room." This extraordinary team accounts for 193 combined years of service to the state of Illinois.