Highland Sheriff’s Department Has New D.A.R.E. Officer

The Highland County Sheriff’s office has a new resource in the fight against drugs. The Drug Abuse Resistance Program, or D.A.R.E. was founded by Daryl Gates, and seeks to prevent use of controlled drugs, gang membership, and violent behavior. Deputy Chad Lightner, a Highland native, recently completed classes to receive his certification as a D.A.R.E. officer, and will be working closely with the school system in his new capacity.

“I’ve lived here my whole life. I graduated Highland High School in 2008 and I got hired here on the sheriff’s office last September, went to the police academy in January of 2014, graduated that in May, and have been here in the county learning how to help the citizens, and hopefully serve and protect them.”

Lightner talked about his training and the D.A.R.E. classes he will be conducting.

“I started the D.A.R.E. program September 9th, it was a two week class – very good classes down in Williamsburg. I met a lot of good people, learned a lot. The new D.A.R.E. program is excellent. They just re-did the curriculum – updated it for what’s going on in today’s world.”

“Our main goal, of course, is helping the kids to make good responsible decisions, stay off drugs, stuff to give them something to look forward to doing. We put good role models in.  This new curriculum has gone animated, so we’ve got kids in  these little animated movies, doing scenarios and going through a little life changing areas, and the kids get to watch that and interact with it. We do a lot of role-playing – the kids get to do all kinds of neat little workbooks and take stuff home to their parents.”

“Class is 45 minutes long, we do one class a week, it’s 10 weeks long. I’m really looking forward to teaching the kids. I’ve been over there in the class a little bit with them, and they’re really excited , they seem to really be anxious to get started.”

While Deputy Lightner will be primarily teaching the fifth grade class at Highland Elementary, the program can be used throughout any level of schooling, as well as being available for adults.

“I’ve got curriculums that go K-12th grade. I can go community based curriculums, anything really that somebody wants me to come do, I’m certified to teach. It’s really a great program, I’m really look forward to getting it started.”

Lightner praised his time as deputy.

“The experience has been great – I love the job. They always told me if you find a job that you love, you don’t work a day in your life, and this is one of those jobs. I enjoy being out here and helping the community, and serving them. If they need anything they can come to me, and I’ll be glad to help them, and if I can’t, I’ll find somebody that can.”

For Allegheny Mountain Radio, and alleghenymountainradio.org, this is Scott Smith.

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Scott Smith

Scott Smith is the General Manager for Allegheny Mountain Radio and Station Coordinator and News Reporter for WVLS. Scott’s family has deep roots in Highland County. While he did not grow up here, he spent as much time as possible on the family farm, and eventually moved to Highland to continue the tradition, which he still pursues with his cousin. Unfortunately, farming doesn’t pay all the bills, so he has previously taken other jobs to support his farming hobby, including pressman/writer for The Recorder, and Ag Projects Coordinator for The Highland Center. He lives in Hightown with wife Michelle and son Ethan. In his spare time, he wishes he had more spare time, especially to ride his prized Harley-Davidson motorcycle. scott@amrmail.org

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