Skip to content

D.A.R.E. to make a difference

A good role model can mean all the difference in the life of a child or young adult.

Fortunately, students in the Fredericktown School District have one more of those on hand. Officer Jordan Myers of the Fredericktown Police Department is the R-I District’s new school resource officer (SRO) and will also soon be certified as a D.A.R.E. instructor.

Superintendent Brett Reutzel said he originally contacted Fredericktown Police Chief Eric Hovis to see about replacing the district’s part-time SRO who retired in December. Specifically, Reutzel was concerned about not having someone to direct traffic before and after school, but Hovis suggested an expanded role.

“I contacted him about what our possibilities were as far as getting an officer to help with the traffic,” Reutzel said. “And he said he’d done some looking into the D.A.R.E. program and was curious if we’d be interested in getting something like that started, kind of a shared thing between the city and the school district.”

The Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program is an initiative that puts law enforcement officers into their area schools to teach students about the importance of avoiding drug and alcohol abuse, as well as violence and other dangerous behaviors. According to the D.A.R.E. website, the program’s mission is to, “Teach students good decision-making skills to help them lead safe and healthy lives.”

Hovis said SRO’s are important not only for the physical safety of students, but also as mentors and liaisons between police departments and the schools they serve. Additionally, Hovis went through the records of past SROs and believes Myers will be the first certified D.A.R.E. instructor in Fredericktown schools.

“And then, to take it another step further than just being the school resource officer, which is a full time job in itself, we’re implementing the D.A.R.E. program as well,” Hovis said. [Myers will] be a full time SRO and teaching D.A.R.E. full time. And work security for ball games and things like that after hours at school. Plus still being a member of our police department and SWAT team and specialized training.”

Myers said as the SRO, he is already building relationships with students that will help him to communicate the D.A.R.E. curriculum in the future.

“It’s fun to see how well they reacted to me so quickly,” Myers said. “Just being there, they want to ask a thousand questions about all the different things that are on your belt and what they do, and it’s just great because that just instantly gets them to talk to you. You have some that may be standoffish at first, but if you come up to them and strike up a conversation about anything on my belt, they’re in love with it and they talk, and talk, and talk.”

Hovis said his own daughters have already said how much they love having Officer Myers around the school.

In February, Myers will go through a week-long training for his position as SRO. Hovis said the training is focused on school safety, school functions, and specific school policies. After his SRO training, Myers will then go through a two-week D.A.R.E. school in time to begin teaching the D.A.R.E. curriculum in the next academic year.

Myers said he has served three years with the Fredericktown Police Department and looks forward to further connection with the community.

“I’m originally from Ironton,” Myers said. “Born and raised there. I started law enforcement August 7, 2013 and I’ve been with the Fredericktown Police Department since December 30, 2013. And I’ve been here ever since.”

Hovis said Myers was selected for the position because of his passion and likability, two characteristics he believes will make Myers a valuable role model to students.

“It’s about passion,” said Hovis. “And I haven’t even had to explain this to him, because he gets it.”

Myers said after receiving his D.A.R.E. certification, he’s going to get to work on how to best apply the curriculum to an engaging experience for students.

“Whenever I start the D.A.R.E. program, I’m going to bring something totally different than has ever been done by any officer who did the D.A.R.E. program before,” Myers said. “I want to be the most creative and innovative person I can be. And I want them to be into it, I want them to be excited about it.”

Hovis said Myers will still be a part of the Fredericktown Police Department, but the majority of his time will be dedicated to the school district.

“It is a sacrifice for us to lose Jordan, who has obviously mastered the skill of patrolman and is moving on to the next step in his career,” Hovis said. “So I don’t look at it like we’re losing him, but we’re gaining an asset by putting him in the schools.”

Hovis added the D.A.R.E. program most importantly helps break cycles of violence and alcohol or drug abuse in the community. He said many students see unhealthy behaviors at home and having a strong role model can be the deciding factor in their lives.

“We can use Jordan as a school resource officer, which is extremely important, and a D.A.R.E. officer who teaches these kids and sets an example for them to be drug-free,” Hovis said. “And even if they are in a bad situation at home, he can be that person that they can look up to. And if we can change just one kid’s life, one family’s life, it’s all worth it. Every bit of it.”

Officer Jordan Myers and Mrs. Hovis' 5th grade class stand in front of Myers' new D.A.R.E. vehicle.

Officer Jordan Myers and Mrs. Hovis’ 5th grade class stand in front of Myers’ new D.A.R.E. vehicle.

Leave a Comment