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Home News-Telegram News Officer DAREs to make a difference: Brad Cummings earns ‘top team member’ award

Officer DAREs to make a difference: Brad Cummings earns ‘top team member’ award

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One of Hopkins County’s newer sheriff’s deputies beginning this fall will dare to make a difference in the lives of county school children.

Brad Cummings stepped up to fill the void at Hopkins County Sheriff’s Office as the new Drug Abuse and Resistance Education officer. Cummings recently returned from Oklahoma City, where he received two weeks of specialized training in DARE curriculum, obtained certification and earned a “top team member” award.

“I expect to start classes in September at all six county schools, three in one semester then three the next,” Cummings said of the nine-week class he’ll teach in 45 minute increments to fifth and sixth grade classes at Como-Pickton, Cumby, Miller Grove, North Hopkins, Saltillo and Sulphur Bluff schools. “I’ll probably go one day a week to each school. For example, I might teach Miller Grove, Cumby and North Hopkins students one day the first semester, then Saltillo, Como-Pickton and Sulphur Bluff the next.”

At the end of each semester a commencement will be held at each school for students completing the curriculum.

“We want to let them know what they do matters. They’ll get a certificate for completion,” said Cummings, who is the father of 3-year-old twins and a 20-month old.

“The sheriff and department are excited about it,” said HCSO Lt. Henry Turner about the return of the D.A.R.E. program. “I’m happy he came forward and volunteered for it. Brad’s a great asset to the department. I think he’ll be great at it.”

Cummings admits he’s excited about being a D.A.R.E. officer and utilizing the information and techniques he learned during the training session. Some of the area focused on included effectiveness of communicating with youngsters of various ages about a variety of topics, and really getting the kids involved in a discussion, really thinking about the subject which in addition to drugs, alcohol and tobacco also includes a section on peer pressure, weapons and teaching them to see past the negative stigma some children are taught in association with law enforcement officers.

“They taught us how to draw the kids out, to tell you why choices or certain things aren’t good for example. It’s brain-based training. They taught us to get down on their level, how to talk to them so they’ll understand,” Cummings explained.

Part of the two-week training required D.A.R.E. officers to visit and give a presentation at a day care over topics covered in the curriculum. He and his partner in the class had to teach “what to do if you find a weapon.”

While he won’t officially begin serving as a D.A.R.E. officer until the fall, Cummings has already put in an appearance at an area church event. Saturday, Cummings and Turner talked with the youth at Cherry Grove Baptist Church about drugs and alcohol.

However, until then, Cummings will assess the materials left from the last D.A.R.E. session over a year ago and start preparing for the fall. Cummings will also continue to serve as a regular patrol deputy when not at the schools teaching.

HCSO plans later in the year, likely in September or October, to reschedule their Meet the Deputies and Family Day so that the community can become better acquainted with Cummings as well as other sheriff’s deputies, reserve officers and members of the Sheriff’s Posse. The event was originally scheduled for spring but had to be canceled due to predictions of inclement weather and has been pushed back until cooler weather so participants won’t scorch while attending.

Any fundraisers needed to bolster funds for D.A.R.E. will also likely be slated later in the year, when things cool down a bit, according to Turner.

 

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