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Tennessee D.A.R.E. Officers Association

Tennessee D.A.R.E. Officers Association

In 1983, recognizing that enforcement alone will never curtail the use and the abuse of illicit drugs, a partnership was established between the Los Angeles Police Dept. and the Los Angeles Unified School District. At that point, DARE was born, and as time went by, a widespread demand for a drug prevention program in schools spread across the country.

Our association first started taking shape in 1989 with meetings from different agencies and officially started in 1990 with a meeting that was held in Nashville. Approximately 70 DARE officers were in attendance from the three grand divisions of the state. The meeting was scheduled after the Tennessee Highway Patrol’s second D.A.R.E. Officers’ Training class. Ron Bilberry (State DARE Coordinator) presided over the group until it was decided to form the Tennessee D.A.R.E. Officers’ Association (TDOA). At that point, Bob Lyons of Nashville Police Department was elected as its first president. During that meeting, we adopted the by-laws of the National D.A.R.E. Officers Association with the exception of having three vice presidents, one to represent each of the three grand divisions of the State of Tennessee (East, Middle and West). These by-laws can be changed to meet the changing standards as needed.

The main goal of the TDOA was, and still is, to have the copyrighted DARE Curriculum taught in as many schools throughout the state as possible.

Due to the geographic location of Tennessee and Tennessee bordering several states. It has been the goal of the TDOA to work closely with the TN. Highway Patrol DARE Program Training Center to make Tennessee a leader in the DARE program and to assist training DARE officers not only in our state, but in surrounding states.

Each year, the TDOA host an annual state conference where officers receive required DARE training updates and some P.O.S.T credited law enforcement in-service hours.

The TDOA Executive Board of Directors consists of a President, three Vice-Presidents, Secretary, Treasurer, Chaplain and a Sergeant-at-Arms and the Tennessee DARE State Coordinator. They meet quarterly to discuss issues pertaining to DARE and to plan the state conference.

Past Presidents of the organization include the fore mentioned Bob Lyons, Metro Nashville Police. Dmitri Cannon, Metro Nashville Police, Trigg McNew, Bristol Police, T.J. Heath, East Ridge Police, Buddy Harlin, Maury County Sheriff’s Dept. Becky Johnson, Franklin Police, Terry McGowan, Metro Nashville Police, Sam Madison, Chattanooga Police, Debra Ham Jenks, Knoxville Police, Jackie Sykes, McKenzie Police, Debbie Sexton Carter, Knox County Sheriff’s. Greg Hill, Signal Mountain Police, and Amy Norville, Murfreesboro Police.

It should be noted that the above (Buddy Harlin) also served as the National DARE Officers Association President.

A special thanks to former TDOA President and Life-Time Member Jackie Sykes for the information providing a brief history on the Tennessee D.A.R.E. Officers Association.

Bruce Alexander

President TDOA