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Officer Explains Why She Loves Working With Students In The DARE Program

News
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 UTAH) Hundreds of fifth graders in Utah are now ready to resist drugs. The latest group to graduate from DARE or Drug Abuse Resistance Education the 5th graders at Foothills Elementary School in Riverton. They graduated on Thursday.
The class is one of seven being lead by Officer Dana Mudrock. And while the Unified Police Officer has nearly 20 years in police work – this is her first year in DARE. And Officer Mudrock is this week’s Behind the Badge police profile.  
 
“It’s amazing. It’s a lot of fun, and I enjoy every minute of it.” After 17 years of working patrols and with the special victims unit for Unified Police – Dana Mudrock became a DARE officer.      
This week I sat down with her to talk about her experience.
 
Don Hudson: “It must be different to go from special victims unit to then just wide-eyed fifth graders.” 
Officer Mudrock: “It is definitely different. We are trained to cover your weapon and make sure everything is covered. And you really can’t do that when you have a little kindergartener come up and say officer mud and give you a big hug.” “I loved my job before, I loved every year of the nine years that I did it, and I knew that I was helping kids. I knew that I was getting them out of situations that they were in and shouldn’t be. This is more of a position where I can prepare them on how to deal with those situations when those things arise.” 
Don Hudson: “When you’re teaching the kids, it’s more than just drugs and alcohol, right?”
Officer Mudrock: “Its so much more than that. It talks about violence. It talks about bullying. It talks about resistance strategies. If you’re just merely in a situation with a friend and there’s peer pressure and you don’t want to be there, what are some things you can do?” 
Don Hudson: “What is your favorite part of the DARE program?”
Officer Mudrock: “You have these moments that you talk about serious situations with these kids that are nine and 10 years old and when you see that light bulb light up above their head and oh, okay, I get it now. That is probably my favorite part.”
“I think it’s moments like that they didn’t realize they had choices. They didn’t realize they had options. And when they realize they do have those, that’s when you get those… Oh, I get it moments.” 
 
Officer Mudrock says it’s so easy to love DARE because most of the students are so into it. “The kids absolutely love the program and they love the car and they love absolutely everything about it.”
 
Don Hudson:”What surprised you the most about the DARE program?”
Officer Mudrock: “You become an instant movie star, which was very interesting to me. No matter where I go. I live in the valley, and no matter where I go – it’s Officer Mud’. 
Don Hudson: “Even when you are not in uniform?”
Officer Mudrock: “Yep. Plain clothes grocery store. I’ll hear it all the time.”
 
Officer Mudrock wasn’t sure what to expect when she started her DARE adventure. But she says she’s always known her goal. “If I get through to one child and I keep one child from being a statistic, then I’ve done my job.’>
 
Officer Mudrock says the hardest part of becoming a dare officer was going through the two week dare school and having to teach adults that are in the DARE program. She says it is much easier to teach the kids. She shared this example. “It was my first semester of teaching, and I was in one of my schools. There was a little boy in the class. He was not exactly the most cooperative child. He was a challenge…he wouldn’t open his book. he wouldn’t participate. and I kept going down to him saying Hey, Buddy, I need you to open your book. I need you to open your book to this page. And sometimes I’d get the dirty looks and you know, the roll of the eyes. But by the time we were done, he not only was participating but he actually was one that won my essay contest.”
 
Officer Mudrock is a married to a fellow Unified Police officer and is the mother to two.  Her youngest will soon be in the 5th grade and go through the DARE program. However, she says her child is not at one of the seven schools she oversees.
 
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