Harrah’s Resort Atlantic City was filled with over 500 law enforcement agencies, government officials, students and parents on Monday, February 29th to kickoff of L.E.A.D.’s (Law Enforcement Against Drugs) inaugural 21st Century Drug and Violence Prevention Training Conference. The three-day conference provided professionals with a forum in which to share information, best practices and lessons learned in law enforcement drug prevention and educational settings.
The conference provided training, professional development, and a statewide forum for law enforcement, elected officials, medical experts and others with a professional interest in promoting a positive, drug and violent free lifestyle in schools and local communities.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an estimated 24.6 million Americans aged 12 or older admitted to using an illicit drug in the past month when surveyed in 2013. (Source) That same year, the New Jersey Department of Human Services reported that nearly 3,000 youth under the age of 18 were admitted to substance abuse treatment facilities in New Jersey. (Source)
“We were very excited to engage law enforcement and educators at our prevention training conference about having meaningful conversations with local communities and educate them about substance abuse,” says Nick DeMauro, L.EA.D. CEO. “The training conference ran from February 29th to March 2nd, and we held workshops, lectures and panels for L.E.A.D. instructors covering topics such as marijuana legalization challenges, school safety and cyberbullying.”
On Monday, February 29th, the convention had opening ceremonies with a poolside concert featuring New Jersey’s rock-n-roll cover band, “The Nerds”. Conference keynote speaker Dr. Stephen Sroka, President of Health Education Consultants, gave the opening keynote address. Dr. Sroka is an internationally recognized speaker and expert on health education, drugs, violence prevention education, school safety, brain-based learning, at-risk students and leadership building for schools and communities. The attending Chiefs of Police were honored including special honorees, International Association of Chiefs of Police President Chief Terrence M. Cunningham and NJ Police Chief President Chief Christopher Wagner. In addition CEO of Centurion Holdings, Joseph J. Grano Jr. was presented L.E.A.D.’s Administrator of the Year Award. L.E.A.D. Chairman, Chief Robert Kugler said, “It is an honor to serve on a board that is surrounded by such prominent leaders. I am proud to be part of L.E.A.D., an organization that is growing leaps and bounds every day.”
Tuesday, March 1st, L.E.A.D. introduced its new partnership with STOP!T, an award-winning technology company that provides a comprehensive software platform that mitigates, deters and controls inappropriate conduct and provides organizational transparency. STOP!T hosted a workshop to introduce conference attendees to their mobile app and how to set up the platform in schools, universities and businesses.
LT. Col. Dave Grossman, U.S. Army (Ret.) Director of Killology Research Group was the keynote speaker for the School Safety Seminar on Tueday. Lt. Col. Grossman is an American author who specialized in the study of psychology of killing. Since his retirement from the army, Grossman speaks to law enforcement officers on how to improve outcomes in lethal encounters.
Wednesday, March 2nd, the conference hosted “The Colorado Experience” panel, featuring Assistant Attorney General, Michael C. Song from the Criminal Justice Section Office of the Colorado Attorney General spoke about marijuana legalization challenges for law enforcement and schools. He was joined by international mental health speaker, Ben Cort and Erie, Colorado Police Chief Marco Vasquez.
L.E.A.D. has quickly become the largest law enforcement school- based nonprofit in New Jersey. L.E.A.D. offers the only evidence based K-12 curriculum utilizing law enforcement throughout the state of New Jersey and beyond. Lead enjoys their partnership with the Mendez Foundation and their “Too Good for Drugs and Violence” family curricula.
L.E.A.D. (Law Enforcement Against Drugs) works with local law enforcement and the educational system to provide resources and educational programs to communities and organizations supporting law enforcement initiatives and services. L.E.A.D. is a non-profit organization made up of educational, government and law enforcement leaders. L.E.A.D.’s goal is to engage and reach youths of America to educate them about substance abuse and encourage them to have meaningful conversations with a tested and proven K-12 curricula.