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Host City Bows Out Of D.A.R.E. Program

  Police officers from as far away as Brazil and Bahrain are in Cincinnati this week. They're training in the anti-drug program called DARE. But there are not any officers at the conference from the host city.

Jeff Hirsh tells us why Cincinnati Police dropped out of the program ... and why DARE leaders hope they'll be back.

There's a pretty good chance you've seen a DARE car ... a flashy police car confiscated from a drug dealer.   And there's a pretty good chance your child has taken the DARE program in school, which started 30 years ago in Los Angeles and has spread just about everywhere.

"The program is in all 50 states, all the territories and 47 other nations."

This week, police officers from all over are in Cincinnati for a DARE training conference ... updating the cops who teach in the classroom on issues beyond drugs, like bullying, school shootings, and cyber-stalking.

There's a certain irony to this DARE conference being in Cincinnati, because last year the Cincinnati Police Department dropped participation and moved the DARE cops out into street positions. Chief James Craig said he didn't think the program did much good.

Kids here said goodbye to their DARE officers.  There have been studies critical of DARE, but the organization's president says those studies are out of date. The curriculum has been revised and tested.

Francisco Pegueros, D.A.R.E. President & CEO:
"And there's no question it does reduce marijuana, alcohol and tobacco use at the middle school level by 20-40 percent."
Another irony to the convention being here ... the "International DARE Officer Of The Year" is from right up I-75 in Springboro.

Sgt. Don Wilson, Springboro Police:
"Where you really know you've made a difference is when those same kids come up to you later and start asking questions, or say I was at the park the other day and saw this, can you help me."

A lot of DARE program cuts are budgetary in tough times.  Perhaps, Cincinnati will dare to bring it back.

"It's a shame that Cincinnati had to suspend their program, but I'm confident at some time it will return."

"DARE" stands for "drug abuse resistance education."

But leaders say the curriculum expanded to deal with issues of self-esteem and good decision making in general.
About two million elementary and middle school children take part annually.




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