Even though the Leavenworth Police Department is still without a Drug Abuse Resistance Education officer, department officials plan to host the annual D.A.R.E. Summer Camp this year.
The Leavenworth Police Department suspended its D.A.R.E. program in September. That's when Mark Lingenfelser, the officer who taught the program in Leavenworth schools, retired from the Police Department. He now works for the Leavenworth County Sheriff's Office.
While the program currently isn't being taught in Leavenworth schools, the city's Police Chief Kitchens announced last week that the department will offer the D.A.R.E. Summer Camp in June. Kitchens said the summer program for children is very popular.
"It's just too important to miss," he said.
Kitchens said he will be running the event this year, but a new D.A.R.E. officer may be selected by the time the camp starts in June.
Kitchens said the Leavenworth Police Department is short-staffed, but this impacts specialty areas of such as the D.A.R.E. program and traffic unit. He said the Police Department still is providing an effective level of service.
The chief said staff levels are showing improvement, and this may allow the department to fill the D.A.R.E. officer position sometime over the summer.
"I think we're moving in the right direction," Kitchens said.
He said there is a school for D.A.R.E. instructors that will be offered in September in Iowa. If everything goes well, he said, a Leavenworth officer will be able to attend this training, and the D.A.R.E. program can be reinstated in local schools in January.
The 2013 D.A.R.E. Summer Camp is scheduled for June 24-28 at Richard W. Warren Middle School. Kitchens said applications for the camp will be available beginning April 1 at the Leavenworth police station or on the department's website.