DARE is currently taught at the following schools: Park, Brockbank, Rees, Larsen, Canyon, East Meadows, Spanish Oaks, Sierra Bonita, Riverview and ALA. Officers build ties with the children as they spend time with them each week and these ties last far beyond students' school years. DARE Officers assigned to schools this year are: Chris Sheriff, Ryan Farnworth, Bryan DeWitt, Zac Robinson and Tyler Beddoes. These officers, with the cooperation of Nebo School District, surround themselves and their students with lessons on the following DARE curriculum:
- Saying "No" to Tobacco
- Saying "No" to Marijuana
- Saying "No" to Alcohol
- Saying "No" to all Drugs
- Having a Positive Self-Esteem
- Dealing with Peer Pressure
- Effective Decision Making
- Dealing with the Effects of the Media
- High School Role Models (Successful local high school students come to the class to visit with the children.)
- Culmination Ceremony (Students receive a DARE shirt and certificate of completion with their parents present.)
Many professionals have argued whether the efforts of DARE are making a difference or not with our youth. Some argue that DARE is not an effective tool in keeping children off of drugs. Others will argue that DARE has a saved millions of children. You can find studies that will present evidence of both points of view. However, it is hard to argue with the fact that the fifth grade students in Spanish Fork get to see a local police officer in a positive way. This may or may not influence that child one way or another, but if we persuade just one student not to get involved in drugs then we have accomplished a great deal. It is our opinion that the relationship developed with the children and the local officers pays dividends for both the children and the Spanish Fork Police Department. If you see one of our DARE officers working an activity such as Fiesta Days or other public activities you will surely see a young DARE student seeking out the officer that came to their class when they were in fifth grade. One of the biggest rewards our DARE officers get is when the students come up and tell them how they are doing.
Here is some comments from the local DARE officers:
Officer Chris Sheriff:
"I have been teaching DARE for 12 years and have enjoyed teaching the kids in our community. DARE has been great for me in that I have developed a lot of good contacts with kids and parents through DARE. DARE also allows me to see a different area of law enforcement than most officers get to see."
Officer Ryan Farnworth:
"DARE is a wonderful opportunity for us to be able to speak to the students about the real dangers of using things that can be harmful and deadly to their bodies. It is also a great opportunity for the students to get to know the police in a way that most people don't get to see. The students love to see us in their classroom and I really enjoy being able to associate with them in that setting."
Officer Bryan DeWitt:
"DARE has been an excellent opportunity for me in Spanish Fork. Going to the schools and interacting with the children has been an opportunity that I would not change. The time spent in the classroom with the children on a weekly basis has been irreplaceable. It has allowed me to interact with the kids and have them interact with me and other officers in a fun and educational environment. Teaching DARE has been about building trust with the children in our city. It is about teaching the children the consequences that can come from our choices and from drug and alcohol abuse. My goal in teaching DARE has always been showing the kids that police officers are normal people. We always have fun in class and learn in the process. DARE has always been enjoyable for me because of the children and teachers in our schools."
Officer Zac Robinson:
"DARE is such a great program! It's an opportunity to have officers in our schools to open the lines of communication between law enforcement and youth. Being a law enforcement officer is a stressful job and you deal with a lot of negativity. It is a nice change of pace to go to our schools and teach a classroom of kids who love to see you each week. My favorite lesson to teach my DARE students is about dealing with peer pressure. The kids enjoy my story about how I once gave into peer pressure by getting tased after a taser training! I hope to establish friendships with my DARE students and give them the skills and knowledge they need to be good citizens in our community."
Officer Tyler Beddoes:
"DARE has been an amazing experience. I look forward to walking into those classrooms each week and seeing our youth smiling and looking forward to hearing the lesson. I am amazed how incredible, smart and dedicated these kids are in their willingness to learn and make the right choices in life. The relationship I have developed with these kids has been special and they really develop an appreciation and trust for you. DARE is a great program and I look forward to teaching DARE each and every week because the youth are such an important part of our community and future."
DARE is funded by two government entities. First the Spanish Fork Police Department funds the program by paying the officers to teach the class as well as providing classroom material such as a workbook and pencil. The DARE shirt expense is split between the school and the police department.