Pubdate: Mon, 11 Dec 2000
Source: Houston Chronicle (TX)
Copyright: 2000 Houston Chronicle
Contact:  Viewpoints Editor, P.O. Box 4260 Houston, Texas 77210-4260
Fax: (713) 220-3575
Author: J.W. White


As a Drug Abuse Resistance Education and Gang Resistance Education 
officer with the Deer Park Police Department, I was incensed by the 
comments of former police officer Billy Lain that were quoted by Thom 
Marshall in his Nov. 30 column, "Viewing drug war from both sides."

The comments by Lain related to "scrapping" the DARE program, but he 
seems to be trying to paint the picture with much too wide a brush. 
Just because he may know some DARE officers who may be involved in 
the program to "get off the streets" and get a day shift with 
weekends-off assignments does not mean that this is the case for 
*most* of the officers teaching in the program.

He says that the police should get out of the prevention and 
education efforts and "leave it to the professionals, educated and 
trained and committed to the task at hand."

I'd like to give him a news flash: I hold a bachelor's degree in 
criminal justice and I am currently working on a master's. 
Furthermore, I have taken intensive training in order to become a 
certified DARE and GREAT instructor.

Also, I put in countless hours because of my involvement with 
after-hours parent meetings, classes and extra-curricular activities. 
These programs weed out those who are there just for the weekday job.

No one claims DARE or GREAT to be "magic bullets" that will save 
everyone from involvement with drugs, violence and gangs. (Show us a 
program that can and we will be the first to contribute to it.)

Lain concedes that our locking up all convicted drug addicts and 
throwing away the key is not working. So why is he against the police 
offering to protect and serve on the prevention front? If that means 
in the classroom, then, by all means, the police and the community 
should be involved.

These programs are meant to be a part of the solution to very complex 
social, psychological and personal problems -- they were never meant 
to exist in a vacuum or to function by themselves. Be careful with 
"simple solutions" as they continue to contribute to the drug-war 

J.W. White, officer, Deer Park Police Department
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