DARE award

Patrolwoman A.C. Walker was recently honored with the Missouri DARE officer of the year award.

Walker, the first officer in Southeast Missouri to win the award, now in its 20th year, said she was "shocked" to have been chosen as she said the award is generally given to veteran officers.

But Walker is indeed worthy of the honor. In addition to formerly serving as the DARE officer for the Cape Girardeau School District, Walker has volunteered -- due to budget cuts -- as the DARE officer at Nell Holcomb grade school. And her involvement in community organizations also includes the United Way, Boys & Girls Club, Take Me Home program, Autism Clinic and Special Olympics.

Though Walker will not be serving as the Cape Girardeau DARE officer this year, she will continue volunteering at Nell Holcomb and serve as the incoming president of the Missouri DARE Officers' Association.

The DARE program, which began in 1987 in Los Angeles, is an important program that teaches children to stay away from drugs and alcohol. But the program is doing much more. DARE officers are also addressing issues such as gangs, guns, Internet safety and prescription drugs.

We commend patrolwoman Walker for her outstanding work with the DARE program and in our community, and we also thank the many other excellent DARE officers for their commitment to teaching students. You are appreciated.