Thirty-seven officers graduated from the DARE program Friday and the men and women will be tasked with teaching children to lead drug-free lives.
This week’s overdose emergency on the New Haven Green, affecting more than 100 people who took a synthetic substance known as K2, was not lost on the group.
During the graduation ceremony, Connecticut State Police Commissioner Dora Schriro referenced the crisis.
“Once upon a time they were in school and they have children at home as well, so, this is a multigenerational conversation,” she said.
Graduating officers said they see the impact drugs have in local neighborhoods, towns and communities nearly every day.
“Sometimes you see these people and you wish you could roll back and get to them before they got to this point in their lives,” Trooper First Class Dimitrie Bogiatzopoulos said.
He and the rest of the new DARE officers will have a chance to turn the tide with a new generation, going into schools to teach students about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. However, he hopes the conversation continues at home.
“Parents have the most opportunity to enforce all the values that children need to make the right choices. We give them some (of) the tools they can use but parents can help us a great deal by reinforcing it at home and throughout their lives day today,” Bogiatzopoulos said.
“Real life scenarios. That’s what kids want. They just want you to be honest. They want the truth and they want answers,” Allison Lockwood, a member of the Milford Police Department and new DARE grad, said.
Lockwood also advised that parents tell their children that when they are not at home to listen to the people they trust, their teachers, and other trusted adults.