BLOOMFIELD, NJ – The Bloomfield Police Department Youth Aid Division celebrated DARE Day in the township with a graduation ceremony for students who enjoyed a fun-filled day with DARE officers on Wednesday, May 22 at Vassar Field.
“DARE started many years ago in the township and the Bloomfield Police Department takes pride on our DARE program,” Detective Lieutenant George Ricci, Youth Aid Division Commander told TAP. “This year, we have over 600 children graduating from all of our elementary school sixth grades and we culminate things today by recognizing the hard work that they put in throughout the whole year with their DARE officer at their respective schools. This is a celebration for graduating and for doing the right thing by staying drug, alcohol and violence free.”
There were games, activities, inflatables and food as the sixth graders partied with the officers, school staff, and student leaders and athletic coaches from Bloomfield High School.
“We have quite a few Bloomfield Police Officers here today who are graduates from this program and I was their DARE officer – it really hits a cord when you see them turn out really well,” said Ricci.
The Youth Aid Division works closely with all township schools and administrators by assigning an officer to each school for a 10-week program to teach the students how to deal with peer pressure.
The officers schedule one day a week where they enter a classroom in a formal setting and instructs the students based on a curriculum from DARE America.
“Our Youth Aid Division runs the entire DARE program, we have all of our officers who are not only patrolmen but DARE instructors who go through a vigorous training where they are put to the task of being put in front of a large audience and speaking which is a pretty hard thing to get comfortable with,” Ricci added. “I’m proud of all our officers.”
The graduating students were presented with a diploma and leave the program with the knowledge and skills to help them make the right decisions to stay drug, alcohol and violence free.
In addition to the investigation of all juvenile matters criminal or non-criminal where the juvenile is the suspect or victim, the Youth Aid Division's goal is to help juveniles through education make good conscious decisions in their everyday life.
The Youth Aid Division is also responsible for the Bloomfield Police Department's Toy Drive held annually during the Christmas season to ensure every child in need throughout the township receive gifts at Christmas.
The Youth Aid Division strives for excellence in bringing the youth of Bloomfield all the services that will help them live a happy and healthy life.