LIMA — Lima Police Department Chief Kevin Martin introduced Officer Eric Mericle as the next leader of the department’s DARE program.
Mericle was born and raised in Lima and has served in multiple roles within the Lima Police Department since he was hired in 2000. In his newest position, Mericle will spend more time in the Lima City Schools teaching students about drug abuse prevention through the DARE program.
“People are going to see me more out in the schools with kids, interacting with them,” Mericle said. “We’re going to be teaching them in the lessons that will get them to make those safe and responsible decisions to carry out throughout their life, with drugs and alcohol, peer pressure, stress, just to get that positive outcome instead of making it a negative one.”
Mericle will also be taking over as the head of Lima’s Safety City program, which was left vacant with the retirement of Officer Patty Wogerman. The program was established by LPD and the Lima Noon Optimist Club to provide training to Lima’s youth about what they can do to stay safe in situations with crime, fire and traffic hazards.
With years of service to the community, Chief Martin believes that Mericle will leave a strong legacy like the DARE officers who served before him.
“Officer Mericle has proven himself of great worth to this community in many ways,” Chief Martin said. “We’ve had other people who have really endeared themselves to our community as DARE officers.”
Mericle said that he was excited to work with Lima’s youth in his new position.
“It means a lot to me. My kids went to (Lima) city schools,” he said. “So the kids of Lima are something we need to take care of and we need to show them the right path.”
Reach Trevor Hubert at 567-242-0398