IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Faced with a growing manpower shortfall, the Idaho Falls Police Department has temporarily suspended its involvement in the D.A.R.E. program. The Department is working to hire and train 14 unfilled positions. Officers previously assigned to D.A.R.E. have been assigned to patrol and training duties.
"With such a significant number of officer openings, the department simply doesn't have the resources to staff the drug education program at this time," Idaho Falls Police Chief Bryce Johnson explained. "This decision is difficult because we value the D.A.R.E. program and our officers really enjoy teaching the curriculum."
Four veteran officers retired this summer, pushing the number of vacancies to 10. The 2018-19 Fiscal Year budget proposes to authorize 4 new sworn officer positions. Once hired, though, a lengthy training process follows, including Idaho P.O.S.T. Academy and field operations training.
Johnson said safety of children would continue to be a priority. "Two IFPD school resource officers will remain in the schools and funding for an additional SRO officer is included in the 2018-19 city budget proposal. We will also be continuing with Blue in the School and other programs aimed at fostering positive and trust-based relationships between offers and students," said Johnson.