EAST HANOVER, NJ- Central School fifth graders spent ten weeks in the classroom with East Hanover Police Officers and a beautiful afternoon at the East Hanover Pool celebrating the completion of L.E.A.D.
L.E.A.D. ; Law Enforcement Against Drugs, established in 2014 is an in the classroom and on the street mission to prevent drug abuse, deter drug related crimes, eliminate violence and bullying and promote law enforcement. Officer Matt Cerrato, officer Rob Jordan and officer Jeff Della Piazza, all East Hanover police officers engaged with 6 classes of fifth grade students for ten weeks. They covered everything from friendships and setting goals to social media best practices and the role of law enforcement.
“The students were hesitant at first but by week three they actively participated,” Officer Matt Cerrato spoke about his experience.
“ This was about building trust and relationships” Officer Jeff Della Piazza added
The party at the pool was a thank you from the officers to the students for participating in the program. Students were treated to hamburgers, hotdogs, cold drinks, a beautiful pool day, touch football and volleyball games and the officers participated too.
Officer Dan Bundschuh from the Florham Park Police Department was present and Committeeman Thomas “Ace” Gallagher and Chief of Police Mark Roddy of Hanover Township came to the event inquiring about the program.
“ We are here to support East Hanover, its all about community” Gallagher said.
“This is the second successful year of L.E.A.D. We have great rapport with the students and the entire community gets involved. These kids are our kids." Chief of Police Chris Cannizzo of East Hanover. The success of the program and enthusiasm of the participants has led to discussions of expanding into the middle school.
L.E.A.D. is the only law enforcement-focused 501(c)(3) charitable organization that uses proven effective evidence-based K-12 curricula in its in the classroom program. This is done in partnership with the Mendez Foundation and its Too Good For Drugs and Too Good For Violence family of curricula. These scripted lessons help promote the development of students’ prosocial skills as well as skills to resist pressures to use alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. The program also teaches life skills such as conflict resolution, decision making, and effective communication. The on the street program gives law enforcement officers research-based information and skills to support the four missions of L.E.A.D. This training allows officers to bring best practices back to their respective agencies in order to support community prevention programs which create safer and healthier communities free of drugs, bullying, and violence.
For more information, visit www.LEADrugs.org