Recent Reports Tout G.R.E.A.T. Program Effectiveness

GREAT LogoThe La Crosse Police Department, home to the grant-funded G.R.E.A.T. Midwest Atlantic Regional Training Center, trains and certifies officers in Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.), a gang and violence-prevention classroom curricula directed towards elementary and middle school students.  In 2014, the G.R.E.A.T. Midwest Atlantic Regional Training Center conducted eight separate training sessions, reaching over 200 officers from throughout the United States and Bermuda.  Upon certification, the officers take their G.R.E.A.T. training back to their Departments to continue, or to begin, G.R.E.A.T. instruction in their locals schools.

Several recently released, independent reports have touted the effectiveness of the Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.) program.

In June 2014, nationally recognized gang researcher, Dr. David Pyrooz of the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at Sam Houston State University and Dr. Gary Sweeten of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Arizona State University, concluded from their research that, “the middle school years, particularly before the age of 12 years, are appropriate for practitioners to identify established risk factors for gang membership […] and for the implementation of effective prevention programs, such as Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.).”

More recently, the Durham, NC public school district asked the Education Policy Initiative at Carolina (EPIC), an education research program of the University of North Carolina, to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of Durham’s G.R.E.A.T. program.  The researchers found, “students in grades where the G.R.E.A.T. curriculum is taught are less likely to have discipline issues than students in other grades, especially in middle school,” as was reported in the Herald Sun article, Researchers Urge G.R.E.A.T. Expansion.  They also found that the Durham G.R.E.A.T. program could, “improve the district’s graduation rate, reduce participation in gang membership and potentially save Durham County a minimum of $22.9 million over a 10-year period by keeping residents out of the prison system.”

Just last week, the official interim report of the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing was released.  La Crosse Police Assistant Chief Robert Abraham, who also Chairs the G.R.E.A.T. National Policy Board, provided written testimony to the effectiveness of G.R.E.A.T. and its records of improving police/youth and police/community relations.

The La Crosse Police Department collaborates with area schools to implement the G.R.E.A.T. program for all middle school students.  In 2014, School Resource Officer instructors delivered the G.R.E.A.T. curricula to over 480 students.  Along with in-school programming, the officers deliver G.R.E.A.T. summer programming in partnership with the la Crosse Area Boys & Girls Club and “Camp-Send-A-Kid”, a one-week program for at-risk and underprivileged youth, is held at Camp Ehawee.



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