Officers Training to be GREAT

Gulfport Police officer Mike Shaw explains to students what gangs are, what they do and how to identify them. As an officer trained in the GREAT curriculum, Shaw says he wants to have a positive influence. "A lot of us when we went through school didn't have this growin' up and them being exposed to me tellin' 'em the truths and the negative things about gangs hopefully I can get to 'em before the gang members do," says Shaw. Those are some of the same pointers the officers in a training seminar at USM Gulf Park are getting. Through written exercises and discussion, they too will learn as GREAT officers to establish a rapport and relationship with students. Training Chief Herb Drake says, "They have somebody that is a hero in a sense that they can admire and a role model they can look up to and know that person on an individual basis as well as a professional basis."

Stephanie Fontenot is a school resource officer in Bay St. Louis. She interacts with kids everyday and wants to get tips on the best way to teach the GREAT curriculum. "I'm interested in getting some information on how to really entertain these students and get their interest in the program, have them excited about it and have the kids actually want to learn about this program," she says.  Mike Shaw says the best way a GREAT officer can do that is to know their information and be willing to learn from their students too.

Marcia Hill