Officers involved say they're happy with changes to a program designed to help your kids make better decisions.
Elementary and junior high kids in Aberdeen get to know police officers through a program called DARE. Some of the messages the officers share are the same ones they have been for years.
"Not to do drugs, try to stay away from that stuff," fifth grader Lincoln Williams said.
But starting last school year, students in the Aberdeen DARE program started learning a larger variety of lessons than they had in the past, DARE officer Keith Theroux said. He says the officers teach skills they can use to help make good decisions regardless of the temptations they face.
The newer lessons cover issues such as bullying and where to find help when you need it.
"If you can start teaching that at a young age, then they'll hopefully adopt that and carry it through the course, not only in their lives in school but also outside at work and as they grow," Theroux said.
That is why officers are saying everyone should care about lessons kids learn in programs like DARE. When kids grow up and make decisions about drinking and driving, they'll be sharing the roads with you. The kids learning about how to treat others now could be your next door neighbor one day.
"So a program like this definitely not just impacts the children and their families but the whole community," Theroux said.
There's no way to gauge the number of future incidents avoided thanks to lessons learned in these classes. Still, a year into the revamped DARE program, officers are happy with the reaction they’re getting.
"We learned how to make good decisions, how to check if that's a good decision and how to stay out of trouble," Wilkinson said.
Aberdeen officers in the program say DARE is also trying to collaborate with the schools to help enhance teaching already going on the buildings.