When the idea of this program was first introduced to our department, schools, and community, it was met with opposition. Most of the opposition came from citizens that were not well informed. Informational meetings were held where questions were answered, and those in opposition were invited to attend some of the classes. After the first test semester was completed in 1992, the decision was made to institute it permanently. Initially the program was to be only a nine month venture (while the students were in class).
The first D.A.R.E. officers that Xenia had were Officer Kathee Forrest and Officer Todd LeMaster. These two officers worked in tandem each teaching alternating semesters at four schools. As the program grew and more and more of the officers’ time was taken up with summer programs and classes, the department was faced with the need of creating a full-time, year-round program, and Officer Forrest was assigned to fill the newly created position.
During Officer Forrest’s tenure, the program anchored itself in our community and became widely accepted. She created the Xenia D.A.R.E. Golf Tournament as a means to raise money to help support the D.A.R.E. program. Today, the Xenia D.A.R.E. Golf Scramble is our major fundraiser and continues to grow each year.
Officer Forrest was followed by Officer Scott Anger. Officer Anger, in conjunction with Deputy Helen Holmes from the Greene County Sheriff’s Office, created D.A.R.E. Camp. Officer Anger strengthened the program by establishing a sound working relationship between the program and the community. This allowed an increased growth in participation from all in Xenia. Today, the D.A.R.E. curriculum is taught in all five Xenia community elementary schools, as well as St. Brigid, Xenia Christian and Summit Academy.
Since then, there have been several other officers assigned to the D.A.R.E. program, and each of these officers have left their mark in a positive way on the community and are to be commended for their continuing efforts with our youth.