Township gives chief permission to teach D.A.R.E. during regular work hours

January 12, 2011|By JENNIFER FITCH |

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — The Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program will be offered at Hooverville Elementary School this spring, but Washington Township, Pa., police don't plan to return to other Waynesboro-area schools.

Police Chief Barry Keller asked the Washington Township Supervisors Monday if he could dedicate 80 hours of an officer's time to teach the program.

"We currently have the workbooks we need and instructors we need," Keller said.

Grant funding to offer DARE ended, Keller said. Municipalities are no longer paying into the program, he said.

"We haven't been in the schools since the year before last," Keller said.

The supervisors told Keller they are OK with using the regular work hours at Hooverville Elementary School, the only school in Washington Township. Instruction will be provided for fifth- and sixth-grade students.

Keller, who said he feels the program is worthwhile, said his officers previously served as instructors in all the Waynesboro Area School District's elementary schools. They staggered which school had the classes in which year.

The school resource officer previously based at Waynesboro Area Middle School did DARE instruction there, Keller said.

The Waynesboro Area School Board debated funding legalities and ultimately removed the school resource officer from schools for 2010-11. He returned to his employer, the Waynesboro Police Department.

Keller also talked to the supervisors about replacing two automated external defibrillators, commonly called AEDs. The machines can be used to shock a patient's heart during a cardiovascular attack.

The department has carried three AEDs in police cruisers for the past 10 years, Keller said. They have been used 20 times, he said.

Summit Health provided the three AEDs, and two are now non-functional, Washington Township Manager Mike Christopher said. The cost to replace each one is $2,000, he said.

A police officer would use the AED if he or she arrived on the scene before emergency medical technicians, Keller said. Officers are trained to use the devices, he said.

The supervisors told Keller to purchase the replacement AEDs using money that was not budgeted for his department.

"For the cost of $2,000, I'd hate for someone's mother, daughter, child, whoever to die because we were one short," Supervisor Jeff Geesaman said.

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