The Barton County Sheriff’s Office patrol car driven by Sgt. David Smith took first place in the car show sponsored by the Kansas Juvenile Officers Association during its conference in Wichita. The conference was attended by Kansas DARE officers to gain training and teaching ideas for their Drug Abuse Resistance Education classes.
Sheriff Greg Armstrong said one facet of the conference is to allow each agency to enter a car show for DARE vehicles. Barton County’s entry won first place in the Cruiser Class of the show. "It’s a regular patrol car, purchased by the county," Armstrong said. However, officers are allowed to incorporate DARE artwork of their choosing on the vehicles. Smith’s car, a 2011 Dodge Charger, features an emblem done by Mark’s Custom Signs. Armstrong said he would also like to acknowledge Detective Sgt. Rick Popp for the new design scheme on all BCSO patrol vehicles.
Sgt. Smith is past president of the Kansas Juvenile Officers Association and has been a DARE officer for 16 years. The department has two other DARE officers, Sgt. Brad Patzner with 15 years experience and Deputy Bennet Shumate with two years. They teach DARE classes at Hoisington and Ellinwood, and at Great Bend Middle School and Holy Family School in Great Bend. Armstrong said the class was also taught at Claflin, which has recently merged with schools in Bushton, Holyrood and Wilson to create Central Plains USD 112. BCSO has been asked to teach DARE classes to fifth and sixth graders this year in Bushton, and will offer its class to Central Plains fifth graders in 2012.