The impacts of the D.A.R.E. program have been debated since it was created in 1983, with some calling it a complete failure. However, some changes have been made — and those are being introduced in Morton County.
The program was revamped in 2011 and now focuses on strategies for students to “get out of situations that they shouldn’t be in.”
In the early days of the program, officers spoke to kids with a heavy focus on just what drugs and alcohol are.
Deputy David Tomlinson, known as Deputy Tommy, recently completed a two-week D.A.R.E. instructor program in Pierre, South Dakota, joining 24 officers from four different states.
He’ll be instructing a 10-week course in Flasher and New Salem school districts equipped with all the new changes.
Deputy Tommy said, “This is a program that we wanted to start about two years ago, and obviously with the pandemic, it kind of got delayed. But there are some agencies in the western part of the state that are doing it and they’ve had some positive results.”
He is the first certified D.A.R.E. officer out of Morton County.