Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.)
Officer Andrew Bennett has been an officer with the Lancaster Police Department for over five years where he has served as part of the patrol bureau, and is currently a member of the Community Services Unit (C.S.U.). He is a 2010 graduate of Amanda Clearcreek High School. Officer Bennett is a 2014 Graduate of The Ohio State University and a 2018 graduate of the University of Cincinnati, where he earned a Bachelor’s’ Degree in Psychology and a Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice.
In 2014 Officer Bennett started his law enforcement career at the Central Intelligence Agency. In 2017 Officer Bennett joined the Lancaster Police Department. In 2020 he completed the eighty-hour Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) instructor course, in Columbus, Ohio. Officer Bennett worked as a D.A.R.E. instructor in the spring of 2021 at Talmadge Elementary while still working first shift patrol. Officer Bennett became a full time Community Service Officer and D.A.R.E. instructor in the Fall of 2022.
Officer Bennett serves as an A.L.I.C.E. (active shooter) and C.R.A.S.E. (active shooter) instructor. Officer Bennett has a wife and two children that reside in the Fairfield county area.
The Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program is an internationally recognized, model program created in 1983 by the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Unified School District. The Lancaster Police Department D.A.R.E. program has been in existence since the early 1990's.
Since 1983 D.A.R.E. has demonstrated leadership in the prevention of drug abuse. Collaborative efforts among Law Enforcement, Education and Prevention Science have distinguished the D.A.R.E. program. D.A.R.E.'s "keepin' it REAL" Elementary Curriculum continues this commitment to provide cutting edge instruction that prevents drug use by developing basic or core skills needed for safe and responsible choices. These skills extend beyond drugs to health and mature choices in life. Developing core academic and life skills, the curriculum furthers both educational and prevention goals.
The D.A.R.E.'s "keepin' it REAL" Elementary Curriculum is designed based on the Socio-Emotional Learning Theory (SEL). SEL identifies fundamental, basic skills and developmental processes needed for healthy development including:
- self-awareness and management
- responsible decision making
- understanding others
- relationship and communication skills
- handling responsibilities and challenges
The curriculum uses this theory to teach youth to control their impulses and think about risks and consequences resulting in more responsible choices. We believe that if you can teach youth to make safe and responsible decisions, this guides them to healthy choices not only about drugs but across all parts of their lives. As they grow to become responsible citizens, they will lead healthier and more productive drug free lives.
The ten lessons are arranged in a scaffolding process, starting with the basics about responsibility and decision making and then building on each other allowing students to develop their own responses to real life situations. The very first lesson starts with responsibility and introduces decision making with subsequent lessons applying these skills in increasing complex ways to drug use and other choices in their lives. It is D.A.R.E.'s vision that youth who think their way through situations, make better choices that are not impulsive, communicate, and relate to people, will be drug free and more successful in all areas of their lives. This is our vision for success and the journey that begins with lesson one.
Importance of D.A.R.E.
The most important facet of D.A.R.E. is the use of specially trained police officers to deliver the curriculum within the schools. Police officers are accepted as authorities on drug abuse, as they deal with drug abuse and its consequences on a daily basis. Last year, nearly 600 Lancaster City, St. Mary and Fairfield Christian Academy elementary students completed the D.A.R.E. curriculum.
In order to be certified to instruct D.A.R.E., a police officer is first interviewed by a panel of police executives, D.A.R.E. Officers and school administrators. If approved, the officer must then complete 2 weeks (80 hours) of intensive training by an accredited training center.
Officers are trained by the Law Enforcement Foundation. The Law Enforcement Foundation has the sole permission to train D.A.R.E. Officers in Ohio.
Ohio's D.A.R.E. program is sponsored by the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police and the Law Enforcement Foundation.