ONLY ON 3: Where’s D.A.R.E.? Donors to defunct Leland program look for answers

LELAND, NC (WWAY) — More than a dozen local D.A.R.E. programs have been set up in North Carolina, but one in our area has closed-up shop. The D.A.R.E. program in Leland is no longer around, but what has some supporters angry is what was done with the dollars raised.

Take a look at the faces affected by the D.A.R.E. program, and you can easily see why the non-profit has so much financial support from the public. Sources close to the now defunct Leland D.A.R.E. program say more than $70,000 was raised when the program was still around.

Sources say when the Leland Police Department decided to get rid of the D.A.R.E. program, that money did not go back to area kids or D.A.R.E. in general, but to the police department and the town.

D.A.R.E. state board members say it’s up to the agency to decide what to do with the money or anything else bought with the money like the town’s D.A.R.E. cruiser.

“That would be up to them, individual cities, if they raised that money themselves,” NC D.A.R.E. Coordinator Lt. Michael Adkins said. “If we had assisted them with that program then we would ask for that money to be returned to the D.A.R.E. program so we can assist other agencies.”

Though it may be OK to use donated D.A.R.E. dollars on other expenses, those who donated money to the Leland D.A.R.E. program say the town should return it to the non-profit.

“it really makes you sick to your stomach to know that you donated and raised money for this fund, and they just come in and take it, and they do what they want to do with it; right on down to the vehicle that was bought with the money,” donor Johnny Herring said. “It should’ve went to the D.A.R.E. program. It should have went back to other D.A.R.E. programs. They didn’t want it in their town doesn’t mean there’s not other programs out there for this that can be used.”

Herring is not alone. One business owner who donated to the program but does not want to be identified said, “They ought to find another program to donate the money to. People donated the money because it was going to help the kids.”

According to Leland Town Manager David Hollis, the donations for D.A.R.E. were not enough to fund the program, including the pay for Ofc. Sherry Lewis and her supplies. He says that is why Town Council ended it.

As for the D.A.R.E. car bought with donated money, the town says it is now being used as a patrol car for the police department.

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