1340 WJOL Respecting Blue: Mokena’s Officer Thomas Czarnecki on 1st and 5th Grade DARE Programs

Our 1340 WJOL Respecting Blue Series continued Monday morning with Officer Thomas Czarnecki of the Mokena Police Force. He spoke of the department’s commitment to students through the DARE program, one of which is a ten week program for fifth graders.  He says the program deals with responsible decision making, risks and consequences, peer pressure, dealing with stressful situations, basics of verbal and non-verbal communication, bullying, helping others, and getting help from others.

Czarnecki says the idea is to have the fifth graders prepared, with the proper tools; for right up to that point when they’re in a situation, asked to do something bad.

Meanwhile, Czarnecki stated that the Mokena Police also teach the “more relaxed” DARE program for first graders.  He says this is a five week program that focuses on strangers, using 9-1-1, “who to call” scenarios,” outdoor surroundings, and dangerous household products.

Czarnecki says a big part of the first grade DARE program is having the policeman sitting in a rocking chair, with the students on the floor comfortable around the officer. He says it’s very important to make young children comfortable around a policeman; especially when parents sometimes point to a policeman when their child is misbehaving as a scare tactic.

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