The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors, on Sept. 19, approved acceptance of a $40,000 donation from the Sheriff’s Benevolent Posse, (a 501(c)(3) nonprofit), to help fund the continued Sheriff’s D.A.R.E program.
The D.A.R.E. program provides local children with skills and strategies that will help them avoid negative influences and focus on their own strengths and realization of their potential.
The Benevolent Posse’s donation will be instrumental in allowing the Sheriff’s Office to continue the delivery of the Sheriff’s D.A.R.E. program to several schools within the county.
“The county of Santa Barbara is in the midst of a significant, multi-year budget crisis. As a result, the Sheriff’s Office took $5.5 million in budget cuts this year," said Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown.
"If it were not for the generosity of the Sheriff’s Benevolent Posse we would not be able to offer the D.A.R.E. program to any of the schools within the county," he said. "We are grateful for the Benevolent Posse’s willingness to step up and support this and other unfunded Sheriff’s Office needs.”
Sheriff’s Benevolent Posse President Richard Kline said he is excited to see more kids have the opportunity to experience the D.A.R.E. curriculum.
“The Sheriff’s Benevolent Posse is pleased to continue to provide funding for one of the most important children’s programs offered in our schools," Kline said.
"We would like to eventually see every fifth- and sixth-grader in Santa Barbara County have the opportunity to learn the important decision making skills D.A.R.E. teaches while providing students the opportunity to have positive interactions and role-modeling with law enforcement.
"The Santa Barbara community is urged to support the posse in its efforts to ensure that our young people gain specific knowledge including valuable lessons concerning good decision making, online safety, bullying, drugs/alcohol/tobacco avoidance, friendship development and successful behavior,” he said.
The Sheriff’s Office currently has one part-time D.A.R.E. instructor, retired Deputy Leslie Avila, who has been teaching the D.A.R.E program to more than 1,000 North County students on a yearly basis, over the past six years.
The D.A.R.E. program was founded in Los Angeles in 1983. The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office began providing the D.A.R.E. program countywide in the late 1980s with a staff of six Sheriff’s deputies. The program was reduced and eventually discontinued in 2004.
Over the years, D.A.R.E. has evolved from a program that focused on saying no to drugs into the current program that is based upon the evidence-based Keepin' it Real syllabus.
Brown reinstated D.A.R.E. in 2007. In 2009, the program was modified to achieve significant cost-savings afforded by using retired, extra-help deputies to teach D.A.R.E.
The Sheriff’s Benevolent Posse works within the Santa Barbara County communities to increase community awareness about the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, and to raise needed funding that improves resources and programs within the Sheriff’s Office
Those interested in donating to the Sheriff’s D.A.R.E. program, or to obtain more information about the Sheriff’s Benevolent Posse, visit the Sheriff’s Benevolent Posse website at www.sbsheriffsposse.org.
— Kelly Hoover for Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.