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Officers qualify as GREAT instructors

A trio of new GREAT instructors: from left, Keegan Taylor, Dawnette Walker, assistant commissioner Antione Daniels and Derek Simmons (Photograph supplied)

A trio of police officers have been certified as instructors for a programme designed to provide students with the skills they need to avoid gang pressure and youth violence.

Dawnette Walker, Derek Simons and Keegan Taylor successfully completed the eight-day training course to become instructors in the Gang Resistance, Education and Training (GREAT) programme.

“I want to extend my congratulations to the three officers who recently completed their GREAT instructor training,” Michael Dunkley said. “We are about to embark on a new school year, and having the Gang Resistance Educational And Training programme in our schools has made an incredible impact in the lives of our young people.”

The Premier and Minister of National Security added: “I want to thank the Bermuda Police Service for their continued dedication to GREAT and for teaching our young people about better alternatives to gang violence and antisocial behaviour.”

According to the three officers, it was a “great” experience to be able to mix with 20 colleagues from other jurisdictions when they travelled to West Hampton, New Jersey, to take part in the intensive training course.

The course focused on teaching techniques, classroom management and co-operative and interactive learning techniques.

As certified instructors, the officers will be able to join the ranks of the eight other police officers who deliver the GREAT curriculum to the Island’s primary and middle schools.

The officers added that they are very much looking forward to putting their newly acquired skills to good use helping to develop meaningful relationships between police officers and Bermuda’s young people.

They were yesterday congratulated by Antoine Daniels, the Assistant Commissioner of Police.

The GREAT programme is a joint initiative between the Ministry of National Security and the Bermuda Police Service that was reintroduced into the Island’s schools in 2014.

Its goal is to help youth avoid gang membership, prevent violence and criminal activity, and develop a positive relationship with law enforcement, resulting in safer communities.