Barry County Sheriff's Office seeks new D.A.R.E. officer
Schools not awarded $2.7 million NIJ grant
The Barry County Sheriff's Office intends to fill its vacant Drug Abuse Resistance Education officer position, said Sheriff Mick Epperly.
Deputy Larry Stockton, who oversaw the D.A.R.E. Program, retired in late August after working 18 years for the Sheriff's Office. Stockton was assigned to Exeter, Purdy, Shell Knob, Southwest and Wheaton Schools.
He is trying to determine his options, Epperly said. The D.A.R.E. officer has to be certified, and D.A.R.E. classes are taught in Missouri every September.
Kati Rose, part-time grant writer for the Southwest School District, applied for an estimated $2.7 million "Developing knowledge about what works to make schools safe" grant through the National Institute of Justice over the summer. The grant was for Exeter, Purdy, Shell Knob, Southwest and Wheaton Schools to have access to a mental health professional, as well as a full-time school resource officer at each site.
The Southwest School District was notified in October that the area schools did not receive the grant, said Superintendent Bob Walker. Each school that applied for the grant paid Rose a pro-rated fee based on January enrollment numbers: Exeter (330 students) paid $334.08, Purdy (666 students) paid $714.59, Shell Knob (129 students) paid $138.41, Southwest (789 students) paid $846.57, and Wheaton (416 students) paid $446.35.
The resource officers could have acted as each school's D.A.R.E. officer, but each school would have determined that role.
"Obviously, security, supervision, those are some of the things that we would have used our person for -- and to have a presence on campus," said Walker, who does not know if the schools can apply for the same grant next year.
It was sad that the area schools did not receive the grant, Epperly said.
"It would have sure helped us a lot," he said.
Morgan Struble, Exeter police chief, plans to serve as the D.A.R.E. officer for the Exeter School District. He is going to a D.A.R.E. officer training seminar from Jan. 18--30 at the Wyndham Garden Hotel in Oklahoma City.
Jennifer Luckey, of the Cassville Police Department, is both the school resource officer and the D.A.R.E. officer for the Cassville School District.