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Bedford Police Department Unveils New D.A.R.E. Vehicle
Updated October 13, 2015 7:41 AM
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dare car.jpg

(BEDFORD) - The Bedford Police Department has a new D.A.R.E. vehicle.

The bright yellow Camaro, driven by D.A.R.E. Officer Major Steve Gilbert, hit the streets Thursday. The vehicle was purchased through generous donations.

"No taxpayer money was spent to buy the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro," Chief Dennis Parsley says. "It was a community effort."

GM Bedford Casting invited the police department to an open house earlier this year. Officials wanted both Parsley and Gilbert to attend.

"We were asked questions about our D.A.R.E. vehicle," Pasley says. "After learning our vehicle was more than 10 years old they said we needed a new car and put plans in the works to obtain one."

With the help of GM, youth groups, including North Lawrence Community Schools, Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence County, United Auto Workers Local 440 and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 16 the money was raised to purchase the 2014 Camaro.

"The vehicle is truly a community vehicle," Parsley says. "The kids have nicknamed it 'Bumblebee.'"

D.A.R.E. is an international substance abuse prevention education program that seeks to prevent use of controlled drugs, membership in gangs, and violent behavior. The program involves children interacting with police officers in a classroom or public environment rather than in a criminal justice setting.

The new car was unveiled at Bedford Middle School.

"We wanted to make sure they saw the vehicle first," says Bedford Police Chief Dennis Parsley. "After all it is all about the kids and it really is their vehicle."

Almost all of the students are the school have know Maj. Gilbert and been a part of his DARE program since first grade.

D.A.R.E. doesn't just address drugs.

"It is so much more," Parsley says. "It addresses bullying, domestic violence, just so much. It allows police to be at the schools and opens doors of communication. These kids know we are here for them and want to help. We want them to feel comfortable coming to an officer for help no matter what the issue is."

Many remember the program as "Officer Friendly" in the 1970. The Dare program was introduced in 1983, but wasn't until the late 80s that Bedford Police Department incorporated D.A.R.E. into the schools letting Officer Friendly evolve into their version of D.A.R.E.

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