On Friday, September 15, SRO Jon Wentworth graduated from the 74th D.A.R.E. Instructor Program at Trooper Island in Southeastern Kentucky. SRO Wentworth will be the first certified D.A.R.E. Instructor in McCracken County Campus Police history. He will begin teaching classes at Reidland Intermediate School next semester.
"I am excited to bring this opportunity to our students," said SRO Wentworth. "My DARE Instructor had a positive influence on me and my decision-making as a student at Hendron-Lone Oak Elementary in 2007. I now hope to share that same positivity with my students at Reidland Intermediate."
Austin Guill, Director of Campus Police, completed the DARE Instructor Program in 2015 and later taught at Clark Elementary School. "The D.A.R.E. curriculum that many are familiar with has been completely revamped," Guill noted. "While the program still highlights the dangers of juvenile alcohol and tobacco use, the primary focus is teaching students how to make responsible decisions in all aspects of their lives. D.A.R.E. provides strategies to report bullying, communicate with trusted adults, and manage stressful situations. In our modern world of technology and social media, this information is extremely valuable and much-needed."
In addition to the D.A.R.E. classroom instruction, Director Guill emphasized the relationship-building aspect of the program. "I have witnessed firsthand how the D.A.R.E. program fosters meaningful relationships between police officers and students. Students build a strong rapport with their D.A.R.E. officer and he or she will become an important resource for them. Many of our students may not have ever had a positive interaction with the police, but the D.A.R.E. program provides just that."