LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) – Twenty-six police officers are now qualified to teach children about gang and violence prevention.
The officers graduated the eight day Gang Resistance Education and Training Program – better known as G.R.E.A.T.
Now they'll go back to their home states and teach kids at the elementary and middle school levels about peer pressure and making smart choices.
But the authorization for the G.R.E.A.T. Program is coming to an end, and administrators hope it's effectiveness is recognized and that funding continues.
“It's about helping and saving our youth. It's about providing our youth life skills so they can go forward and be successful and make good choices about their lives,” said Sgt. Tom Walsh, regional administrator of G.R.E.A.T.
Sen. Tammy Baldwin, (D) Wisconsin, who attended Wednesday's graduation, said that she's been writing the committee appropriating that money, asking them to look at the impact of community policing and the success of the program.
“Our youth right now have so many challenges in life and many are growing up in neighborhoods that are dangerous, maybe there's family violence. These officers learn about early intervention; helping them choose the right path,” Baldwin said.
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