DARE to be different

by | August 4, 2018 5:01 pm

Last Updated: August 4, 2018 at 1:05 am

SEEING THE CONSEQUENCES FIRST-HAND. L/Cpl. Rusty Davis guides a youngster on the Walterboro Police Department’s four-wheeler. The goggles provide a look at what drunk or impaired drivers see while trying to navigate the roadways.

The Walterboro Police Department’s DARE program is more than just “don’t do drugs.”

“The program is designed to teach kids how to make safe and responsible choices overall,” said WPD L/Cpl. J. “Rusty” Davis, who took over the program last year. “It focuses on everything from positive decision-making skills — such as not doing drugs and alcohol — to healthy ways to deal with stress, bullying and peer pressure.” The program is designed to be age-appropriate and interact with students on their level, using situations that they may very well be dealing with.

Davis was at the Colleton County Memorial Library last week, talking with children visiting the library. During the school year, a 12-week DARE program is offered for fifth graders at Forest Hills Elementary School (the only school under WPD jurisdiction.) However, any group or school that wants to have the program presented to their children may call Davis at 843-782-1041 to set it up.

Davis can relate to the problems today’s kids face because he’s seen a lot in his 15 years in law enforcement: five with the WPD and 10 with the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office. He has worked patrol, warrants, criminal investigations and as a crime scene investigator, evidence custodian, SWAT team operator/commander, instructor and community officer. He got his certification to teach the DARE program in 2017.

DARE is one of the WPD’s long-standing program, but the department also reaches out to the community in other areas. The first Eddie Eagle Gun Safety program for kids was held Wednesday Aug. 1 at the library. Throughout the year, the department offers programs on fraud awareness and active shooter-civilians response, as well as Coffee with A Cop and Pops with A Cop, where adults and youngster may meet and talk with officers on an informal basis.

For more information on other available programs, call Cpl. Amye Stivender, 832-782-1008.

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