Gang Resistance Education and Training Comes to Harford County

(Harford County, MD – May 30, 2007) — The Gang Resistance Education and Training Program (G.R.E.A.T.) is a school-based, law enforcement officer-instructed classroom curriculum. The goal of the program is to educate pre-teens and teens against delinquency, youth violence, and gang membership.

G.R.E.A.T. has developed partnerships with nationally recognized organizations, such as the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and the National Association of Police Athletic Leagues. These partnerships encourage positive relationships among the community, parents, schools, and law enforcement officers.

Earlier this year deputies from the Sheriff’s Office along with officers from the Maryland State Police, Bel Air Police Department, Aberdeen Police Department, and Havre de Grace Police Department attended G.R.E.A.T Officers Training in Edison, New Jersey. In order for law enforcement professionals to be certified to teach any of the G.R.E.A.T. curricula, the officer must successfully completion 40 hours of G.R.E.A.T. Officer Training (GOT). The officer training focuses on the structure and content of the G.R.E.A.T. curriculum while providing knowledge of current gang trends and building the skills necessary to teach in a classroom setting.

As part of Sheriff Bane’s initiative to address juvenile and gang related crimes through community outreach a G.R.E.A.T. pilot program has been established during after school hours at Magnolia Elementary School. The pilot program a first in the county is presented through a partnership with the Harford County Office of Substance Abuse and Drug Control Policy, Harford County Public Schools, and Harford County Sheriff Office.

The 13 week program will conclude on Thursday June 7, 2007, with graduation being held at 3:30 p.m. in the cafeteria of Magnolia Elementary School located at 901 Trimble Road Joppa, Maryland. A total of 42 children will be honored as graduates of the G.R.E.A.T. program. Media personnel are welcomed to attend the graduation ceremony.