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There are certain advantages to having a Belgian Malinois for a police partner.
And perhaps none are so fear-inducing than the one highlighted on a bright yellow sign tacked above Officer Mike Powell’s desk at the Shawnee Police Department.
I can make it to the fence in 2.8 seconds.
Some D.A.R.E. officers are being removed from some schools and parents are upset.The Shawnee Police Department would love to keep the D.A.R.E. officers in the classrooms but they are needed on the streets and public safety has to be the top priority, a spokesman said.Nefrun Washington has two children in the Shawnee Mission School District. One attends Broken Arrow Elementary in Shawnee, and she said she and fellow parent Kay Brand hate to see the D.A.R.E. officers cut at the school.
“I think it’s sad, ” Washington said. “Kids need to learn about drugs.”
Brand said she had the D.A.R.E. program when she was in school.
“I do think it helps a lot. It helps educate the kids on what’s going on out here in the real world,” Brand said.Shawnee police spokesman Lt. Bill Hisle said police agree that D.A.R.E. officers are important.
“We’ve been doing the D.A.R.E. program for almost 20 years now. We feel that it has a positive effect just having police officers be with students, so it was very difficult to do,” Hisle said.
But it’s simply a matter of staffing, Hisle said. The police department is down four officers, so the D.A.R.E. officers must now dedicate themselves full time to public safety, he said.So far, Shawnee is the only Johnson County police agency to cut D.A.R.E. officers completely. Prairie Village police went from having two D.A.R.E. officers to having one. Overland Park police continue to use three D.A.R.E. officers in the classroom, but they said they’d have to watch state funding and re-evaluate the commitment.
Shawnee Mission School District spokeswoman Leigh Ann Neal said they value D.A.R.E. officers but understood the budget constraints.”School districts and public agencies alike are struggling with issues with budget and staffing, so we recognize that,” Neal said. Shawnee police are keeping school resource officers in the middle and high schools, and they said they are hopeful they can get their staffing back up in time to restore the D.A.R.E. officers next fall.