Police DARE, SLO programs continue in Coon Rapids schools

The Coon Rapids Police Department will continue to provide school liaison officers (SLO) and teach DARE classes in Anoka-Hennepin District 11 schools in Coon Rapids during the 2012-2013 academic year.

The Coon Rapids City Council has approved contracts with the school district for both programs.

Under one agreement, the police will assign school liaison officers at Coon Rapids High School, Coon Rapids Middle School, Northdale Middle School and Crossroads Alternative High School as well as officers to teach the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program to fifth graders at Adams, Eisenhower, Hamilton, Hoover, Mississippi, Morris Bye and Sand Creek elementaries.

According to Coon Rapids Police Capt. Cary Parks, the department has operated the school liaison program since 1974 and it has “instructed the nationally recognized DARE program in all elementary schools in Coon Rapids” since 1989.

The DARE program is part of the school district’s fifth-grade health curriculum, teaching children to say no to drugs, alcohol and tobacco, deal with peer pressure and boost self-esteem.

The contract with the school district totals $175,306, which reflects a 1 percent increase in the payment by the district over last year, Parks wrote in a memo to the council.

A second contract renewal with the school district provides for the police department to house a school liaison officer at the River Trail Learning Center at L.O. Jacob School.

This is the third year at this location for students from the former Bell Center, Coon Rapids, Parks wrote in his memo.

The school district will pay the police department $69,370, also a 1 percent increase over last year, under this contract.

According to the agreement, the school liaison officers promote crime prevention in the school district as well as coordinate services between the district, criminal justice system and social services.