Pubdate: Sat, 17 Dec 2005
Source: Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal (Tupelo, MS)
Copyright: 2005 Journal Publishing Company
Author: Lena Mitchell
Bookmark: (D.A.R.E.)


BOONEVILLE - The new fiscal year brought an end to the five-year DARE
program in Prentiss County.

When it became necessary to choose between patrol officers and
supporting two DARE program officers, Sheriff Randy Tolar said he was
forced to put the day-to-day services of the department ahead of the
popular anti-drug education program.

"We had a three-year grant to start the program, which required that
the county continue to fund it an additional year," Tolar said. "When
those four years were up, I kept the two DARE officers on an
additional year, but when the department was over budget, the
supervisors decided not to continue funding for the program."

The two officers who taught DARE - Drug Abuse Resistance Education -
were laid off. However, the resignation of a sheriff's department
patrol officer allowed Tolar to keep one officer. The other was hired
for a patrol officer vacancy in the Booneville Police Department.

Anti-drug work continues

"Although the DARE program ceased to exist, we still go into county
schools, churches and civic groups to provide a program, but it is not
the same as having the DARE officers teaching classes in the schools
every day," Tolar said.

Funds that support program expenses such as teaching materials,
workbooks and other supplies continue to accumulate from fines
assessed in justice court.

Tolar said the fund balance is probably $10,000-$15,000, which the
department will use to continue its educational efforts under the
state statute that says the money is to be used for DARE "or similar

However, supervisors have asked county attorney Joey Langston to
determine if collecting the money is valid now that the DARE program
has ended.

Efforts continue to find funding to return DARE officers to the
classroom, Tolar said.
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MAP posted-by: Larry Seguin