"There has been a lot of discussion nationwide about the effectiveness of DARE; some say it's very effective, others say it's not. Looking at the bigger picture, if we're able to change the outlook of a handful of kids every year and be able to give them the tools needed to succeed, then a program's worth it. This is an opportunity for us, on the positive side, to really look at our other options and programs that may be even more beneficial," said Cole.
Cole said the police department has always had a very good working relationship with the school system and he knows that will continue.
"The common purpose and collaboration between the Saratoga Springs City School District and the Saratoga Springs Police Department will continue through this transition. Circumstances required reevaluation of this program in the current economic climate. Ensuring that students have the knowledge and skills they need to make good decisions is a priority," said White.
Cole said all parties involved understand why the decision to cut DARE had to be made and while it's obvious it's not an ideal situation, all are willing to work around it.
The Shenendehowa school district has gone without a DARE program for several years now, according to information from the public information department. Officials say there has been no noticeable increase in violence or negativity since the program was discontinued.
In addition to cutting DARE, the department's K-9 unit was cut to save about $8,000 to $10,000 a year, effective Feb. 26. Two vehicles that were assigned to transport the dogs will now be available for use by patrolmen, another small cost-saving move.