The Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD) has announced changes to the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program, in an effort to increase its reach, efficiency, and effectiveness.
The operations of D.A.R.E. have now been centralized within the MDPD’s Public Information and Education Bureau (PIEB), and the seven officers who run the program have been re-assigned to the PIEB. Beginning next January 2017, there will be an additional five D.A.R.E. officers, and the overall number of schools serviced by the officers will increase from the current 67 to 100. During the summer, D.A.R.E. officers will also assist in mentoring and, with community outreach programs which MDPD now offers for students.
D.A.R.E. is an internationally acclaimed educational program that seeks to steer young people away from substance abuse, membership in gangs, and violent behavior. The approximately ten-week curriculum, which is taught to 5th grade students, emphasizes the negative consequences of substance abuse and violence. Additionally, students are taught various approaches to conflict resolution and how to deal with bullying.
MDPD expects that centralizing D.A.R.E. in the Public Information and Education Bureau, increasing the number of D.A.R.E. officers, and expanding the number of targeted schools, will allow the program to have an even greater impact in deterring youth violence, by greatly enlarging the number of students in the Miami-Dade County schools, who are reached by this program.
“I am very proud of the positive effects the program has had on young people in Miami-Dade,” MDPD Director Juan J. Perez said of D.A.R.E. He said the changes would allow the program “to play an even greater role in this department’s ongoing outreach to young people and in our efforts to empower them to make positive decisions.”