Pubdate: Wed, 12 May 2004
Source: Home News Tribune (NJ)
Copyright: 2004 Home News Tribune
Author: Ken Serrano
Bookmark: (D.A.R.E.)


NEW BRUNSWICK: Twenty-four-year-old Raheem Byrom wanted to be a police 
officer even before he was a city fifth-grader, one who went through the 
then-new DARE program.

For 14 years, New Brunswick police have worked in the city schools to steer 
fifth-graders away from drugs through the Drug Abuse Resistance Education 

Byrom is one sign of the maturity of DARE in New Brunswick.

"It teaches you to separate yourself from the evils at an early age," said 
Byrom, who joined the police force eight months ago. "It added to me 
wanting to be a police officer."

Yesterday, more than 500 pupils joined him as graduates of DARE. The 14th 
graduating class, made up of pupils from the city's elementary schools, 
packed Loews New Brunswick Theatre on Route 1 during the annual graduation 

The theater exploded in a roar when detectives Ed Selby and Ray Trigg and 
Sgt. Michael Bobadilla, who run the program, appeared at the front of the 

"The bottom line is no one can stop you but yourself," Trigg told the pupils.

The Los Angeles Police Department started DARE in 1983. The program focuses 
on the dangers of alcohol, tobacco and drugs and deals with topics like 
self-esteem and respect.

The relationships fostered by the DARE officers working with city 
schoolchildren is an example of the change in police work in the last two 

"It's a different mentality," said Selby, who has been a police officer for 
24 years. "I'm lucky toward the end of my career that we're a lot more 
involved with the community than when we first became police officers."

The Essence Drill Team performed to the sound of drums during the 
festivities. Later, the students bowled at Brunswick Zone-Carolier lanes in 
North Brunswick.

"I loved it. It was so fun," said Tendria Pringle, 12, a pupil at McKinley 
Community School, about DARE. "They told me I can succeed if I stay off of 
drugs. With drugs, you can't see what it's doing to your brain."
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MAP posted-by: Terry Liittschwager