Program teaches kids how to develop good decision-making skills and to empower themselves to lead healthy and safe lives.
The Cocopah Tribal Police Department is preparing to launch its Drug Abuse Resistance Education Program in conjunction with the Somerton School District where Cocopah children, from kindergarten through 8th grade attend school.
“It hits home knowing if my own child gets that kind of education in school, it will definitely help him out in the future,” says veteran Cocopah Police Office Jesus Verdugo.
Verdugo, who has been with the police department for almost five years, recently completed an intensive two-week DARE Officer training session in Las Vegas, Nevada.
He and other officers learned how to develop and present lesson plans designed to teach 5th through 8th graders how to develop good decision-making skills and to empower themselves to lead healthy and safe lives.
DARE’s vision statement is to create “a world in which students everywhere are empowered to respect others and choose to lead lives free from violence, substance abuse, and other dangerous behaviors.”
After completing DARE Officer Training, the Nevada State Training Coordinator commended Verdugo in a letter to the Cocopah Police Department, stating: “Officer Verdugo was a true pleasure to have at this training, and his conduct and demeanor reflected his professionalism as a member of law enforcement. Officer Verdugo also represented your agency in a highly professional manner.”
The DARE course Verdugo will teach lasts 10 weeks and is taught one day per week.
Verdugo himself was a DARE student when he was in the 5th grade.
DARE was founded in 1983 by then-Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates and the Los Angeles Unified School District. Since then, the DARE program has grown to become an international outreach effort, training police officers in countries as close as Canada to those as far away as Saipan.