Douglas County's students will see at least one new face when they receive drug and gang awareness training.
That's because the Youth Training Services Officer for Douglas County Sheriff's Office has left to take a training position with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
Jennie Hill, who worked with the Sheriff's Office for five years, was replaced last week by former part-time Drug Awareness Resistance and Education instructor Chris Griffith who becomes the new Youth Services Officer, said Sheriff Ron Pierini.
Replacing Griffith in the part-time position is Diane Bertran, who retired from Carson City Sheriff's Department after being that agency's DARE instructor.
Carson City eliminated its DARE program about four years ago, Pierini said.
Hill has taught Gang Resistance courses for ATF during the past few years.
"I couldn't keep doing this and be employed" with Douglas, she said.
Hill's first ATF teaching assignment involves instructing area Gang Resistance teachers in Rapid City, S. D.
The 80-hour training sessions are done during a two-week period, giving Hill plenty of time for sightseeing on the weekend, she said.
From Rapid City, Hill travels to New York City and Philadelphia and will spend two weeks teaching in each locale.
She compared the job to an adventure and enjoys the traveling.
Before coming to Douglas County Hill spent 10 years working for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office.
"There was a lot of community support" working in Douglas County, she said. "I leave there with a good feeling."
Pierini said Hill did a terrific job and he's excited about continuing the DARE and GREAT programs in Douglas County with Griffith teaching.
Despite national criticism of DARE's purported ineffectiveneess in recent years, Pierini still believes in the program and that's partly why it has succeeded here, he said.
"If the (school) district and the sheriff's office don't buy into the program, it will fail," he said. But because it's strongly supported in Douglas County, it does well, he said.
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