In 1990, The Beachwood Police Department felt that there was a need to help the children in our Borough learn how to deal with the pressures of drug abuse. Chief Wagner did some research and found that the D.A.R.E. Program, which was spreading across the country, was well suited for our Borough. It was at that time that Ptl. Ken Halucha was chosen as the first Beachwood D.A.R.E. Officer. Ptl. Halucha spent two weeks at the Sea Girt State Police Academy training in the D.A.R.E. Program. He graduated and started to teach the program in September 1990. Seventeen weeks later, the first D.A.R.E. Class in Beachwood graduated.
In 1992, the program was expanded to include Pine Beach Elementary School. Ptl. William Oldham was chosen as Beachwood’s second D.A.R.E. Officer. He also completed two weeks of training at the State Police Academy in Sea Girt and soon after joined Ptl. Halucha teaching the D.A.R.E. Program.
In the years the Borough has had the program, we now have approximately 1600 graduates and are teaching all sixth graders in two schools; Beachwood Elementary School and Pine Beach Elementary School.
In 1995, Ptl. Oldham attended a one week course and was certified to teach the D.A.R.E. Parents Program. This program meets for 21⁄2 hours for one night a week for six weeks. Its goal is to familiarize parents with the curriculum being taught to their children. It forms a bases for parent/child dialogue.
Our D.A.R.E. program is currently taught in the Beachwood Elementary School by School Resource Officer Adam O’Connor.
D.A.R.E. – Drug Abuse Resistance and Education is a preventative program developed approximately 12 years ago in Los Angeles, California. The seventeen-week program was developed by educators, police officers, and doctors. It was developed to help equip children with the skills necessary to resist peer pressure to experiment with harmful drugs. In 1995, it was revised to include skills for children to learn how to deal with violence and how not to solve problems using violence.
The specially trained officers go to the schools when the children are in the sixth grade. They teach the comprehensive program once a week for seventeen weeks. During their time at the schools, they develop a positive rapport with the children, not only in the classroom; but also during the time they spend with them at lunch and on the playground.
The D.A.R.E. Officers work closely with and receive much support from the teachers. The teachers are in the classroom during the lessons to provide supervision for the students. The program focuses on four areas:
• Provides accurate information about alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
• Teaches the children decision-making skills
• Shows children how to resist peer pressure and violence.
• It provided positive alternatives to drug use and violence.
HOW IS D.A.R.E. SUPPORTED?
The D.A.R.E. Program has the support of the Chief of Police and the officers within the department. It also has the support of the Mayor and Council, as well as the Board of Education, the schools in the Borough and the children’s parents.
Monetary support is received from donations from such as the Annual D.A.R.E. Hockey Night.
TIPS FOR PARENTS
• Establish family rules that make the use of drugs non-negotiable.
• Know your children’s friends and communicate with their parents.
• Know where your children are going and with whom.
• If your child is going to a party, check to see if there will be parental supervision.
• Communicate with your child and they will communicate with you! (Leave the door open!)