Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T)


Sheriff's Office - Community Services

Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T)

The G.R.E.A.T. program (Gang Resistance Education and Training) is a program for elementary and middle school students. Like the D.A.R.E. program, a trained deputy teaches the program in the classroom teaching a different curriculum each week.

The program was introduced in 1991 by the Phoenix Arizona Police Department. After two years, A.T.F. formed a partnership with the Phoenix PD and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. The program was then taught by uniformed officers in communities all over the United States. By 1995 it was being taught to over 500,000 middle school students. Since then numerous other law enforcement agencies from all over the United States have joined the partnership. They formed a National Policy Board that makes policy decisions for the program.

There are two curriculums currently being taught. One is a four week program designed for 3rd and 4th grade students and the other is designed for 7th grade students. The 3rd and 4th grade curriculums consist of educating the students about the importance of families, that no matter how different everyone is, each person is special, the difference between clubs and gangs and on goal setting for their future. The 7th grade curriculum was updated as of 2001. The new curriculum consists of 12 lessons. It strives to attain the following goals:

Students will develop a foundation of knowledge about the relationship among gangs, violence, drug abuse, and crime. They will be able to analyze information sources and develop realistic normative beliefs about gangs and violence.

They will define their roles and responsibilities in their family, school, and community. They will develop realistic and achievable goals. They will develop decision-making skills. They will develop effective communication skills. They will develop active listening skills, learn to recognize the emotional states of others, develop empathy towards victims of crime and violence. They will develop effective refusal skills. They will develop anger management skills. They will recognize that anger management will help prevent violence and conflicts. They will develop conflict resolution techniques. Many of the lessons consist of a lot of role-playing and or group exercises.

At the end of the 12 weeks, the student presents his/her "Project" to the class. The project is based on the idea of "Making My School a G.R.E.A.T. Place". This can be done individually or as a group. The students are encouraged to be creative in how they present it. They can write an essay, report, poem, draw a cartoon or comic strip, create a collage, diorama or mural, make a photo essay or poster, create a web page or a video or write a song or rap. It's amazing to see how creative these students can be! On graduation day the students can win specific prizes such as sports balls, or other prizes with the G.R.E.A.T. logo on them. It is a very successful program in that the Officer is in the classroom and provides a positive role model for the students. The Officer can also use their own experience in law enforcement in answering questions or teaching the lessons.

The Napa County Sheriff's Office currently has one Deputy teaching the GREAT curriculum. That School Resource Officer, Deputy Janine Gallagher began teaching this program in 1998 and is currently still teaching it.