The children and teens of Great Bend will see a new DARE vehicle cruising the streets.
The Great Bend Police Department purchased a 2017 Dodge Ram 4x4 pickup back in December, but the truck was not ready for duty until March 4 when lights, decals and a special siren were added.
“It is important to have a DARE vehicle for the community,” DARE Officer Paul Millard said. “The children really think it’s cool that I have my own vehicle and it helps promote the DARE program.”
The vehicle was purchased by alcohol and tobacco sales taxes from Great Bend. As these items are sold, a percentage of the tax goes into a fund that the police department can spend on education and prevention. The DARE program — Drug Abuse Resistance Education — falls into that category.
According to Millard, the last DARE vehicle was returned to the patrol division. Chief Cliff Couch thought a pickup would be a good choice for the next DARE vehicle because it can be used to haul items and tow a trailer to events.
The truck is equipped with everything that can be found in a regular patrol car, so it can be used for normal police duties.
A number of police departments’ DARE programs use specially marked cars to promote their programs. The DARE cars appear at schools and in parades.
Sometimes these cars are high-end or performance cars that have been seized in a drug raid. They are used to send the message that drug dealers forfeit all their glamorous trappings when they get caught.
DARE cars can also be regular police vehicles that are nearing the end of their service life, pressed into service for the promotion, or new police cars outfitted especially for the program.
DARE is a police officer-led series of classroom lessons that teaches children from kindergarten through 12th grade how to resist peer pressure and live productive drug- and violence-free lives. The program was founded in 1983 in Los Angeles and has proven so successful that it is now being implemented in 75 percent of our nation’s school districts and in more than 52 countries around the world, according to DARE.com.
This year millions of school children around the world will benefit from this highly acclaimed program that gives kids the skills they need to avoid involvement in drugs, gangs and violence.