PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — School starts on Aug. 10 and local law enforcement officials are preparing for the upcoming school year. An organization called Law Enforcement Against Drugs, or L.E.A.D. is conducting a week-long class for Bay District school resource officers.
Bay District School’s police chief Douglas Boortz is trying to make sure his officers are ready for the beginning of the school year.
They’re learning how to prevent the two most serious threats facing students, drugs, and violence.
“They need to start teaching these young, young kids because the day and time that we live in now is unbelievable. And any tool we can use for these young people, we need to do it. So I’m training these SROs so they can get in the classroom and teach at least fifth graders,” said Boortz.
Boortz is using a program called L.E.A.D., or Law Enforcement Against Drugs.
It’s a ten-lesson curriculum giving school resource officers the tools and opportunities to teach children how to make good choices.
“The topics that they’re teaching are goal setting and making good decisions, managing emotions, communicating in ways to communicate how to pick good friends. And after they set the foundation of those five lessons, then they’re introducing drugs, alcohol, and over-the-counter medication to the students. But they’re doing it in age-appropriate ways,” said L.E.A.D. Program Administrator Beth Jones.
Jones and her team travel across the state of Florida teaching officers what it takes to be a positive leader for students.
Chief Boortz says over half of his officers are enrolled in the course and will be earning their L.E.A.D. certification by the end of the week.
“We can catch it before it does happen. And that’s how. That’s how we train,” said Boortz.
Chief Boortz says the L.E.A.D. classes are just part of the future education plan he has for his officers.