The Iola Police Department embraces community policing by involving the community for solutions to crime. One of the larger sources of crime in our community comes from the juvenile population. The solution was to develop programs which involved positive interaction between law enforcement officers, and juveniles at an early age, and provide worthwhile activities in which juveniles could take part. The Iola Police Department has developed several programs and events to build the relationship between the Iola community and the police department. The Community Resource Officer involves the community to accomplish many of these programs. Among these programs and events are the D.A.R.E. program, a Bike Rodeo, and the Hooked on Fishing Not On Drugs Fishing Derby.
Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE)
The goal of the DARE program is to prevent substance use among school children. The DARE program targets elementary and middle school children before they are likely to have used alcohol, tobacco, and other harmful drugs. By reaching children at an early age when they are most receptive, project DARE seeks to prevent adolescent drug use and to reduce trafficking by eliminating the demand for drugs.
The curriculum developed by educators has a unique feature of police officers as instructors. DARE officers are specially selected and receive intensive 80 hour training to enable them to effectively teach in the classroom. DARE lessons focus on four major areas: providing accurate information about drugs and alcohol; teaching students decision making skills; showing students how to resist peer pressure; providing students ideas for alternatives to drug use.
The objective of DARE is to equip elementary students with the skills for recognizing and resisting social pressures to experiment with alcohol, tobacco and other drugs; to help students develop self esteem; to teach positive alternatives to substance abuse; to develop student's skills in risk assessment in decision making; to build student's interpersonal and communication skills.
Hooked On Fishing, Not on Drugs (HOFNOD) Fishing Derby
The Iola Police Department aided by private and corporate sponsors, supports the Hooked On Fishing Not On Drugs (HOFNOD) program with an annual fishing derby. Previous year's events drew over 330 youths participating in the derby. All participants in the derby receive tackle and gifts provided by the various sponsors of this event. A cookout is held after the fishing derby with food donated by local sponsors. An award ceremony closes the day's events.
Highlights of previous years' events include a brand new Weigh-In trailer donated by Emprise Bank, fitted with a new Digital Scale, and new Sound System donated by Craig, Georgia and Kristen Abbott. Community National Bank donated a Humvee golf cart, assists with major funding, The Iola Pharmacy and Emprise Bank have in the past, assisted with major funding.