Local police used body cameras to document bizarre rift with educators over drug class
BAKER - After a WBRZ report Monday that detailed a rift between the local police and school district, video surfaced that showed a police officer being told educators were not interested in participating in the D.A.R.E. program.
“'I don't want D.A.R.E.,'” the principal of Park Ridge Elementary was recorded telling Baker Police Officer Demarcus Dunn earlier this school year.
The video was recorded on the officer's body camera and released to the WBRZ News 2 Investigative Unit less than 24-hours after a previous report highlighting the city's loss of $18,000 in grant money since the drug abuse program was not implemented. The city police department had been awarded more than $20,000 to teach a D.A.R.E. program at city schools.
"'I have to talk to Dr. Brister… I'm not going to do D.A.R.E.,'” the principal said in the recording.
In two interviews with WBRZ this week, Police Chief Carl Dunn likened the issue to a political fight. Chief Dunn said school system executives are upset he won the election to become police chief.
“I brag on the fact that I can work with anybody and everybody. But it's hard when they have no integrity and no moral character whatsoever,” Chief Dunn said.
But, the chief revealed, he has had issues with the program – changing the head officer after a previous instructor received numerous complaints. The officer has resigned, the chief said, following a 45-day suspension.
Dr. Herman Brister, the city schools superintendent, did not comment on allegations of a political rift. He echoed a previous statement, showing support of D.A.R.E.
A grant administrator questions if a grant to fund such a program in Baker would be awarded again since the program was not properly administered this time.