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In 2006, the Jasper County Sheriff's Office created a D.A.R.E. Officer position within the Sheriff's Office to help educate school aged students in the negative effects of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco abuse. Cpl. Matt Smith is assigned as a D.A.R.E. Officer as well as serves as a School Resource Officer in the three school districts of Avilla, Jasper, and Sarcoxie.

The D.A.R.E. program teaches students good decision-making skills to help them lead safe and responsible lives. It was founded in 1983 by Los Angeles Police Department, today more than 15,000 D.A.R.E. Officers and Deputies are in over 10,000 communities nationwide educating America’s youth and serving as the first line of defense in America’s schools against drug, alcohol, and tobacco abuse.

The D.A.R.E. program is taught in all 50 states, and 49 other countries. All curricula are science-based, age appropriate, and written by a national panel of curriculum and prevention experts. The D.A.R.E. currciula meets the core educational standards of health, language arts, and math. The program also meets the needs of communities and schools as it relates to “bullying”, both on line and face to face.

Each D.A.R.E. Officer must undergo a basic 80 hour D.A.R.E. Officer Training (DOT) course, this training allows a police officer or deputy to teach both the elementary curriculum and the middle school curriculum. During the 2012/2013 school year, Cpl. Smith educated approximately 160 5th grade students while teaching the D.A.R.E. program in his assigned schools.