D.A.R.E. and G.R.E.A.T.
1. Briefly describe the structure of your programs.
D.A.R.E. - This program is taught to fifth grade students during the course of the school year.
School Resource Officers - Officers are assigned to all five of the districtís high schools. Their role at the high school is crime prevention, education, and mediation.
Youth Services - The two officers in this unit investigate all gang-related crimes. They concentrate on intervention in an attempt to prevent those youths on the fringe of gang involvement from becoming hard core members.
2. When were the programs created and why?
The D.A.R.E. program began in our city in the 1990-1991 school year. It was created to try and teach kids how to say no to drugs and how to make good life style decisions.
The G.R.E.A.T. program began in the 1994-1995 school year and its purpose is to prevent young people from becoming involved in gangs.
The School Resource Officers were first assigned full time to our cityís four main high schools in the 1997-1998 school year. Starting this school year, a fifth officer will be assigned to the off-campus or alternative high school. The program was created as part of our community policing program in hopes of forming a strong relationship with the district and the students. The first yearís results were outstanding!
The Youth Services Unit was just created as a result of a Police Department reorganization. However, the Department has had two gang detective positions for 10 years. They were created when the City first began to notice gang type activity.
3. How do you measure the programís effectiveness?
D.A.R.E., G.R.E.A.T., AND THE S.R.O. programs are all measured with various types of questionnaires given to students, parents, and school staff. There is also informal community feedback. There is no formal effectiveness measure for the gang unit. However, the fact that the community and the Police Department now have a single source for gang information is a sign of effectiveness.
4. How is the program financed?
D.A.R.E. is funded primarily by the Police Department. However, this program has two areas of outside help that make it very unique. One is our D.A.R.E. "Bug". A local Volkswagen dealership, in conjunction with VW of America, has donated the use of a new "Bug" as a D.A.R.E. vehicle. In service since June, this vehicle is reportedly the only one of itís kind in America and it has been a definite attention getter. The car and officer are the hits of the show wherever they go. The other unique part of the Departmentís D.A.R.E. program is the citizensí advisory board. Almost two years old now, this board is a separate entity and has taken on the task of raising funds that assist the D.A.R.E. program.
The G.R.E.A.T. program has been a budgeted position since its inception. The past couple of yearís funding has been assisted by a grant from the Federal Government.
The School Resource Officers are also budgeted positions. However, the Bellevue School District contributes a significant amount of money to help finance the program as have two federal grants. The Youth Services Program is strictly a budgeted item through the Police Department.
5. How is the community involved in the program, if at all? How has the community responded to the program?
D.A.R.E. has community involvement through the various P.T.S.A. and the citizensí advisory board. In addition, a number of local service groups and area businesses have become involved by way of financial donations.
G.R.E.A.T. has the community involved through the P.T.S.A. during the school year and then through both Parks Department and parental involvement in the summer camp. A detailed description of the Parks Department involvement is available in Part II.
The School Resource Officers have the community involved by way of the P.T.S.A., various student groups, and of course, the school districtís financial support. There is also the interaction among students, parents, and officers in all after school activities. Neighborhood Action Groups and the surrounding business community also interact with the officers and students.
6. Contact person:
The United States Conference of Mayors
J. Thomas Cochran, Executive Director
Copyright © 1999, US Conference of Mayors, All rights reserved.