Posse donates $40,000 for D.A.R.E. program

Posse donates $40,000 for D.A.R.E. program

Staff report

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors has accepted a $40,000 donation from the nonprofit Sheriff’s Benevolent Posse to help fund the 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 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,” he said.

The Sheriff’s Office has one part-time D.A.R.E. instructor, retired Deputy Leslie Avila, who has been teaching the program to more than 1,000 North County students each year 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 it countywide in the late 1980s with a staff of six 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 and in 2009 it was modified to save money by using retired, extra-help deputies to teach it.

The volunteers of the Sheriff’s Benevolent Posse work within Santa Barbara County communities to increase awareness about the Sheriff’s Office and to raise funding that improves its resources and programs.

To donate to the Sheriff’s D.A.R.E. program or to obtain more information about the Sheriff’s Benevolent Posse, visit www.sbsheriffsposse.org.