A Shorewood police officer was recently nationally recognized as the officer of the year for the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, commonly known as D.A.R.E.
Officer Kimberly Giugler was named D.A.R.E. Officer of the Year, Shorewood Police Chief Aaron Klima said. Giugler began serving as a D.A.R.E. officer in 2000, one year after she began at the department.
“I was abused as a child,” she said. “I didn’t have somebody that I really looked up to. ... I wanted to be that person.”
Klima said the award is a great honor.
“She’s worked very hard,” he said. “It’s nice that all of her efforts, not just with teaching locally, but being a figurehead in the state association, are recognized.”
She has served Troy School District 30-C, Minooka School District 201, Holy Family Catholic School and Trinity Christian School.
Giugler recently retired as D.A.R.E. officer but will continue to serve as a police officer for several years. During that time, she also will serve as a mentor to the new Shorewood police D.A.R.E. officer, Wes Barlog.
Giugler said she was surprised to receive the award, and wished she could share it with the colleagues who have helped the program move forward.
Klima said Giugler spearheaded the effort to bring training for D.A.R.E. officers to Illinois. Before that, Illinois police departments were sending their officers across the nation to receive training.
Giugler said the program’s original intent was drug education.
“Today, it’s shifted to be more of a social-emotional learning,” she said. “We only have one drug lesson.”
Giugler said other lessons she teaches include risks and consequences, coping with social situations, managing stress, bullying prevention and taking a stand. She hopes that during the course of the following years her students have taken away the lesson of making good choices.