CRAIGHEAD COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - Most people are familiar with the D.A.R.E program, which stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education. It's a program led by law enforcement officers.
They teach a series of classroom lesson to help give kids the tools they need to resist peer pressure and live productive, drug-free lives.
This program targets elementary age children.
One Region 8 D.A.R.E officer felt there was more they could be doing.
Captain Justin Rolland with the Craighead County Sheriff's Department said the program has been a part of their department for some time now.
"We've been doing the D.A.R.E. program for years now," Rolland said. "It was implemented back before I even first started here at the sheriff's office which will be about 25 years ago."
Rolland said the D.A.R.E officer for the Craighead County Sheriff's Office felt they needed to add an age group.
"Typically, nationwide, elementary age students are targeted for the D.A.R.E. program," Rolland said. "So, that's typically done nationwide. Here in Craighead County, the D.A.R.E. officer approached Sheriff Boyd some time ago and basically felt a need to target the junior high level students. By doing that he approached the sheriff and asked if there would be any problem with targeting seventh or eighth-grade students. And the sheriff agreed he felt like that was a need. And so, that's what we're doing different. The D.A.R.E. officer, he teaches D.A.R.E. classes in the elementary grade level around the fourth, fifth or sixth-grade level. But he is also spending extra time teaching D.A.R.E. to the seventh graders here in Craighead County."
Rolland said they've had a positive response since they added students.
"It's been going really well," Rolland said. "Obviously the D.A.R.E. officer stays really busy doing that. It adds a little bit of an extra workload to him and so he stays pretty busy doing it."
Rolland said their D.A.R.E officer, Deputy Sheriff Jamey Carter, wanted to help as many Region 8 kids as possible.
"Those seventh-grade students are older," Rolland said. "He felt like at a little bit of an older age, they needed to be taught D.A.R.E. Not only targeting them at an older age. Even if some of those students were taught that in fourth and fifth-grade, he just felt like there was a need for it later on in the junior high years. So far, we've seen some good results for it."
Rolland said he works with all the students in Craighead County.
Areas covered by the Craighead County Sheriff's Office D.A.R.E program are Westside, Bay, Brookland, both Riverside campuses in Lake City and Caraway and Buffalo Island Central.
Rolland said there is even a Buffalo Island Central campus in Mississippi County.
He said they spoke with the sheriff of Mississippi County, asking for help to keep from leaving any of the students out.
Rolland said the Mississippi County sheriff knew about the program and was all for it.
"The sheriff of Mississippi County is also supportive of that program," Rolland said. "So, he allows that deputy to go over into the Leechville and teach D.A.R.E. there as well."
If you are interested in learning more about the D.A.R.E. program in Craighead County, you can contact Captain Justin Rolland or Jamey Carter at the Craighead County Sheriff's Office by calling (870) 933-4551 or click here.