“We can’t arrest our way out of these problems.”
COMBAT's mission—reducing substance abuse and violence in Jackson County—is one that law enforcement agencies alone cannot achieve. That is why "we can't arrest our way of these problems" is a common refrain among police officers, prosecutors, COMBAT commissioners and staff, as well counselors and other health professionals.
Legal Issue & Public Health Crisis
That is why in pursuing its mission COMBAT is addressing substance abuse and violence as both a legal issue and public health crisis. Also, rather than only be reactive—addressing problems only after they've worsened—COMBAT funds mulitple Substance Abuse Prevention and Violence Prevention programs, including Law Enforcement School-Based Programs.
"Law enforcement alone is not the answer," emphasized Dan Cummings, Officer-In-Charge of the COMBAT-funded Jackson County Drug Task Force. "Law enforcment can't eliminate the demand [for illegal drugs]. We need prevention and treatment to reduce the demand. We in law enforcement will keep trying our best to reduce the supply."
In line with this holistic approach, COMBAT launced the STRIVIN' (Strivign Together to Reduce Violence In Neighborhoods) Initiative to bring together schools, police, mental health providers, faith-based leaders and concern citizens to address violence in our most volunerable neighborhoods.
The 68 prevention programs COMBAT is funding in 2020 are broken into three categories:
- Bullying Prevention
- Child Abuse
- Counseling Services
- Diversion Programs
- Domestic Violence
- Job Training Programs
- Legal Services
- Parenting Programs
- Re-entry Programs
- School Attendance/Truancy
- Sexual Assault Programs
- Victim Support Services
- Youth-Orient Programs
Many of these programs are based on the DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) curriculum, which consists of 10 lessons that encourage students to participating in group projects, role-playing, pair discussions, games and more. Each lesson is designed to promote interaction among the students, as well as between the students and their teacher. Most of the police departments have customized their DARE programs to meet their students' specific needs. Some have paired DARE with GREAT (Gang Resistance Education And Training).
- Blue Springs DARE
- Grain Valley DARE
- Grandview DARE/GREAT
- Independence STEP
- Kansas City DARE/GREAT
- Jackson County Junior Deputy Academy
- Lee's Summit DARE
- Oak Grove DARE
- Sugar Creek DARE/Community Violence Prevention