Lower Township officer receives state DARE award

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LOWER TOWNSHIP – Officer Darrin Hickok of the Lower Township Police Department received the state’s DARE (Drug Abuse Awareness Education) Officer of the Year award on Wednesday, Feb. 26.

The award was presented at the DARE New Jersey Annual Training Conference Program at the Caesar’s Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City.

DARE is a school-based life skills program that became the model curriculum that is taught throughout the nation. The primary goal of DARE is to teach effective peer resistance and refusal skills so that adolescents can say “no” to drugs and their friends who may want them to use drugs. The secondary goals of the program are to build students’ social skills and enhance their self-esteem, as these are believed to be linked to adolescent drug use.

Hickok was recognized as an officer who has demonstrated continuous commitment and dedication to the children of Lower Township. He is a 20-year veteran of the Lower Township Police Department.

During his 11-year tenure as a DARE officer and instructor, Hickok has dedicated himself to ensuring that the children of Lower Township are equipped with the skills necessary to resist the pressures to use drugs or become involved in gangs, according to a press release.

He has instructed more than 3,300 students in the classroom. He has also participated in DARE Leadership Camp each summer for the past 11 years.

New Jersey State DARE Officers Association president Joe Sitty presented the award. Also present in the audience were Hickok’s wife and three children, retired police Chief Brian Marker, retired DARE officer James Dietrich, Sandman Consolidated School Principal Barbara Dalrymple, retired State Police Lt. John Herman, Lower Township Police Chief William Mastriana and Captain Thomas Beeby.

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