Madison Magazine June-July 2019 - Page 5

for it.” The 10-week program is taught one day a week in third- and sixth-grades, with a pilot project for incoming high school freshman and an eighth-grade class in the works. “It’s actually the first program that’s been taught countywide,” said Officer Whitney Maupin, who serves B. Michael Caudill Middle School. It replaces a reading, social studies or health class, and is tailored to that grade level’s needs. For example, a freshman will learn about vaping and dating sce- narios. “Each session feeds off the next,” said Gregory. “You start with social skills you have to develop, like decision mak- ing, communication, and goal setting, and then you go into the different drugs.” “It’s better for police to teach this,” said Deputy Michael Stotts, who also teaches at Caudill. “It gives us an added perspec- tive, and builds lasting relationships with students, building their self-esteem through role playing and encouraging them to participate.” “I hold myself accountable with them and talk about how drugs and alcohol have affected my family as well,” said Of- ficer Brent Bradley, who teaches at Far- ristown. Drug prevention education is noth- ing new since First Lady Nancy Reagan encouraged students to “Just Say No,” in the 1980s. Gregory notes that in Berea schools in the early 1990s they had a Drug Abuse Resistance Education pro- gram, or D.A.R.E., taught by two officers that ended in 2002. “Between 2002 and 2009 there was really no drug prevention being done in our community,” he said. Building Relationships The program’s feedback has been positive from students, teachers and the SROs, who are providing a form of person- alized policing to the schools. “It seems to bridge the gap between them thinking of you as an officer and them thinking of you as a teacher or a role model,” said Officer Amanda Madden, who serves Madison and Clark-Moores Middle Schools. “They feel like they can come up and tell me something that maybe they weren’t able to tell me before.” “I can get more on a level with them and they don’t see me in a uniform,” said Bradley. “They see that I’m human as well, and if you don’t meet your goals, its okay, you’re going to have setbacks.” There are many peer pressure refusal SPRING SPECIAL EVENT Celebrating Our CENTRAL KENTUCKY Truck, Trailer, Boat and RV I-75 Exit 95 Phone: (859) 623-0444 Fax: (859) 623-8974 15th Year of Business ! strategies in place to help students build their confidence to handle that pressure and bullying, too. “They really respond well with those, because they say, ‘well, ‘just say no’ doesn’t really work all the time’, but you can make an excuse, you can reverse the pressure,” said Madden. “There’s no way these kids are going to become experts on this subject matter, but our goal is just to give them a working knowledge of it,” said Officer Chet Wright, who’s at Model Laboratory School. This is the first contact with police for many students, and that idea isn’t wasted on these SROs, who know it takes a spe- cial type of officer to work with kids. “Kids don’t want to disappoint you, and once you’ve taught them that first time, the atmosphere changes a bit,” said Maupin. “They start to care more about you,” added Wright. A public school environment is unusual at best. “You’re in your own little city with its own problems, and the kids are sponges,” said Officer Byron Smoot, who teaches at Foley Middle School and in the pilot program at Madison Southern High School. The officers build relationships with the students they see every day, which means COMBS, PARSONS & COLLINS FUNERAL HOME, INC R ICHMOND , KY KYTRUCKANDTRAILER . COM Trusted Chiropractic Care Dr. David O'Dell, D.C. Eliminate pain, heal injuries and promote your overall wellness with quality chiropractic care from the experienced professionals. O’DELL Voted Madison Co’s. Best 4 Years In a Row! Chiropractic Center, LLC 2007 Merchant Dr., Richmond, KY 40475 859-575-1222 328 WEST MAIN STREET RICHMOND, KENTUCKY (859) 623-0822 WWW.CPCFH.COM J U N E - J U LY 2 0 1 9 Madison Magazine 5