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Home/Press Release/OCEAN COUNTY PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE CONTINUES TO EDUCATE OC CHILDREN OF ALCOHOL, DRUGS AND GANG DANGERS

OCEAN COUNTY PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE CONTINUES TO EDUCATE OC CHILDREN OF ALCOHOL, DRUGS AND GANG DANGERS

Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato and Lakewood Police Chief Robert Lawson today announced that on Tuesday (6/14) the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, Lakewood Police Department, and the NJ Parole Department collaborated to graduate 416 sixth grade students from the Lakewood Middle School. This group of students is one of many for the 2015/2016 school year highlighting the continued growth of the G.R.E.A.T. (Gang Resistance Education and Training) Program within the Office of the Ocean County Prosecutor and partnering law enforcement departments.

The Gang Resistance Education And Training (G.R.E.A.T.) Program is an evidence-based, national and international gang and violence prevention program that has been building trust between law enforcement and communities for almost 30 years. G.R.E.A.T. is intended as an immunization against delinquency, youth violence, and gang membership. It is designed for children in the years immediately before the prime ages for introduction into gangs and delinquent behavior. The program is built around school-based, law enforcement officer-instructed classroom curricula.

Beyond today’s Lakewood Middle School Graduation, this year the program has already graduated the fifth grade classes of the Toms River Hooper Avenue Elementary School, Toms River Silver Bay Elementary School and East Dover Elementary School, as well as, 6th graders from Toms River Intermediate East. To date the program has imparted life skills/lessons this school year to over 1100 students from Ocean County who have completed the school-based, law enforcement officer-instructed classroom curriculum designed to build life skills, prevent delinquency, violence and gang membership.

Today’s graduation is the results of the partnering instruction from Ocean County Prosecutor’s Detective Sergeant Sandra Rodriguez, Lakewood PD Officers Alex Guzman and Steve Nickens, Sr. Parole Officers Joe Meroni and Monica Cherry of New Jersey Parole. OCPO brought the program to Ocean County Schools in 2011 and have been continuously working cooperatively with other Ocean County law enforcement agencies to expand the program locally in an effort to reach as many children as possible. Those wishing more Information about the G.R.E.A.T. program can go to: www.great-online.org.

GREAT June 2016Picture left to right: Lakewood PD Officer Alex Guzman, OCPO DSGT Sandra Rodriguez, Lakewood Officer Steve Nickens, Principal Richard Goldstein, Sr Parole Officer Joe Meroni, Sr. Parole Officer Monica Cherry

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