A new initiative to enhance and support the Butler County Sheriff’s D.A.R.E. program has begun in the county thanks to the Butler County Attorney’s Office.
The D.A.R.E. program, which presently reaches out to several hundred children in Butler County, is designed to keep the youth in the community safe and drug free through teaching safe and responsible choices.
“A prosecutor rarely has the opportunity to actively participate in crime prevention and community outreach programs having a direct effect on children,” said Butler County Attorney Darrin Devinney. “Our role is generally restricted to handling matters after a crime has been committed.
By supporting the D.A.R.E. program with funding, we can assure the continued benefits go to the children and families of Butler County.”
What is different about the idea is the funding source will stem from funds accumulated through the county attorney diversion program. Many first-time offenders may apply for diversion to avoid a conviction if they successfully complete the program, which is overseen by the County Attorney’s Office.
Those first-time alcohol or drug offenses will have $25 of the diversion fee earmarked for the D.A.R.E. program in Butler County.
The funds will be transferred to the Butler County Sheriff three times a year to purchase the D.A.R.E. materials needed for students to complete the program.
Presently, the costs of the materials per child are $13.72, with an additional expense of $1.50 for those who complete a secondary level of education.
“Partnering with Sheriff Kelly Herzet for the good of the children in this county just makes sense. Our first transfer of $1,825 reflects the 73 diversions applied for from May 1 to Aug. 31 of this year. Turning substance abuse crimes into substance abuse prevention benefits everyone,” said Devinney. “I am hopeful these continued contributions to D.A.R.E. can reduce the number of alcohol–and drug-related offenses as well as teach children the importance of personal responsibility.”