Pubdate: Thu, 03 Oct 2002
Source: Valley Voice, The (CN BC)
Section: Page 4
Copyright: 2002 The Valley Voice
Author: Jim Holland


Last week I received a phone call from a person who for the first few 
minutes of the conversation gave me the impression I was speaking to an 
RCMP officer.  I was being requested to support the DARE [Drug Abuse 
Resistance Education] program by making a cash donation or buying tickets 
to the tournament.

I had to make repeated requests of "who are you?" to glean the information 
that I was being 'pitched' by a high pressure telemarketer.  I was even a 
little more difficult to get the name of the direct marketing company that 
is using our community police departments (in my opinion) as a vehicle to 
make money for themselves.

I personally can be quite supportive of fundraising for local police 
activities that work to improve our communities, especially in terms of 
education.  We, as a community, are under great pressure to maintain our 
services in the present political climate.  For my part, I wish that our 
leaders and police departments would be a little more creative and up with 
the realities of our society and not flog the dead horse of the DARE 
program.  We cannot afford to waste money or time on strategies that are 
not productive.  Honest and clear education about drug awareness should not 
use fear tactics or disseminate misleading information, as I believe the 
DARE program does.  And there is a good case that education of our children 
is best left in the hands of our professional educators, not coalitions of 
private corporations and the police.  The police most certainly have a role 
in this process but, in my view, private profit-driven interests will best 
serve the community by staying with making profits.

Notes:  The September 2002 report of the Senate Special Committee on 
Illegal Drugs recommended:

Prevention strategies in schools should not be led by police services or 
delivered by police officers.

The RCMP should reconsider its choice of the DARE program that many 
evaluations studies have shown to be ineffective. * Xentel DM is a Calgary 
direct marketing firm that is running the hockey tournament as a 
fundraiser.  A portion of the proceeds go to the Nelson City Police and 
Nelson RCMP detachment for DARE programs in local schools.

What percentage of the funds raised go to the police departments? What 
percentage of the funds are direct costs of the campaign?  What percentage 
of the funds are retained by Xental DM?

Jim Holland

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