LIMA — There’s a new D.A.R.E. office at the Allen County Fairgrounds.
The Allen County Sheriff’s Office on Thursday marked the occasion with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, recognizing 21 contractors for donating roughly $90,000 in building materials and labor to build the office.
The D.A.R.E. program brings officers into local schools to teach students about the dangers of drugs, alcohol and tobacco, with tips on how to resist negative peer pressure so youth don’t experiment with deadly substances.
It’s also a popular feature of the Allen County Fair, introducing youth to law enforcement officers in a positive setting where students can submit their artwork or obtain a free photo/DNA identification card, which parents can use if their child ever goes missing, to quickly generate a missing person profile.
But the old D.A.R.E. building had fallen so far into disrepair that it became unsafe, Public Information Officer Major Andre McConnahea said on Thursday. The roof was rusted, the flooring unstable. There was irreversible water damage and mold throughout the property, which had also become home to rodents and bees’ nests before the old building was demolished.
Now, the new D.A.R.E. office is “the nicest building on the fairgrounds,” Sheriff Matthew Treglia said.