Waters named D.A.R.E. Officer of the Year PDF Print E-mail
Written by Janna Ross   
Tuesday, 13 September 2011 00:00

A Clark County Sheriff’s Deputy has been a positive influence for the small, close knit community of Henryville for the past six years. He has implemented a program for fifth graders that teach them about making the right choices and the consequences of making bad decisions. The hundreds of students he has taught over the years have taken the lesson in the classroom and turned it into a life lesson. The impact he has made on the students has not gone unnoticed.
At the end of the school year Clark County Sheriff’s Deputy Joe Waters, the Henryville School Resource Officer, was printing out end of the year information about the D.A.R.E. Program. A staff member of the school noticed the application for Indiana D.A.R.E. Officer of the Year and knew she needed to nominated the officer standing in front of her.
Karen Epley took the nomination form and nominated the D.A.R.E. Officer she knew had such a positive influence on the students at Henryville. Epley was quick to answer why she nominated Waters for the state wide award.
“Because I’ve seen the difference he has made here. He has made a difference. We see it all the time. He has been here long enough now that we are seeing the ripple effect the D.A.R.E. Program has in the building,” Epley explained.
Epley was able to attend the ceremony on August 4 in Indianapolis when Waters was honored for being named the 2011 Indiana D.A.R.E. Officer of the Year. Waters was awarded a plaque which now hangs on the wall in his office in Henryville Elementary School.
Epley addded, “He is really involved in the community. People up here know he is safe. The kids know he’s safe. They know they can come to him for all kinds of things. They know he is more approachable because they see him in the schools. The kids will see  him in the hallway and give a thumbs up to Officer Waters.”
Epley concluded with praise for Clark County Sheriff Danny Rodden for allowing Waters to be a part of the Henryville Schools Family.
“We really appreciate the fact that Sheriff Danny Rodden allows Officer Waters to be in the school. We are very grateful to Sheriff Rodden and the Sheriff’s Department for funding the D.A.R.E. Program for us,” Epley stated. “The program is a great success.”
Waters was placed in Henryville Schools six years ago by former Sheriff Michael Becher. Waters began teaching the D.A.R.E. Program five years ago thanks to the support of Sheriff Rodden.
“I still really appreciate the fact that Sheriff Rodden and the Department gives me the time to work on the program and be in the schools. I am grateful to the Sheriff for him being an advocate of the School Resource Officer and the D.A.R.E. Program. I couldn’t do what I do without his support,” Waters stated.
Waters was the original D.A.R.E. Officer for Clark County and not only taught the program to fifth graders at Henryville but also to fifth graders at Borden Elementary and this year at St. Anthony’s in Clarksville. Borden Town Marshal Jerry Crotchett now teaches the program at Borden after receiving the D.A.R.E. training. Clark County Sheriff’s Deputies Lt. Bob O’Keefe and Sgt. Kevin Simms also teach the program now to fifth graders in Jonathan Jennings and Pleasant Ridge Elementary Schools in Charlestown and at New Washington Elementary.
Waters was still excited about the response he received from officials at St. Anthony’s when he called to inquire about bringing the D.A.R.E. Program back to their students.
“Last year was the first year I taught the program at St. Anthony’s. They loved the D.A.R.E. Program and missed the program. When I called to see if they wanted the D.A.R.E. Program they overwhelmingly agreed. They flew the D.A.R.E. flag and hung banners when I taught the program there. Their response to the D.A.R.E. Program was so overwhelming to me. They truly loved having the program back after a few years of missing it,” Waters explained.
The response Waters received from the Clarksville school is what he receives from the staff he works with daily at Henryville Elementary and Henryville Junior/Senior High School. Henryville Elementary School Principal Dr. Glenn Riggs and Henryville Junior/Senior High School Principal Troy Albert, were quick to praise Waters and his efforts with the D.A.R.E. Program and as the School Resource Officer.
“Having an officer in the building is a tremendous asset in terms of our huge community with children and everything. Launching the D.A.R.E. Program gives us another arm of raising children to make the right decisions. Family, teachers and administration tell the kids to make the right decisions and then we have a law enforcement officer telling them about making the right choices,” Dr. Riggs explained. “Then you have children coming back with speeches and presentations, it is so impressive. It is a very mature position to say no to drugs and alcohol.”
Dr. Riggs concluded about the relationship Waters has with the students at HES, “The kids love him. They build a relationship and trust him. It is not a fear factor. They learn they can go to a police officer for help. Having him here on a daily basis is a big part of it.”
Albert is also grateful to have Waters at the school.
“The biggest thing I can tell you is we enjoy Joe sharing his expertise in the classroom with the D.A.R.E. Program. He touches the lives of the students. If we reach just one more student each year then we are helping the community everyday,” Albert stated.
Albert added, “The School Resource Officer side allows us to communicate legal issues with him and the advice we get is priceless. He has helped parents learn what some of their consequences would be. He is an extension of the school. Having him here has opened doors and having him here every day, the kids know him and that helps. It has prevented a lot of things that could have been really bad.”
Waters is very proud of the D.A.R.E. Program and what the program teaches the students. Although the program is taught at the schools by Waters, the program is truly a family affair.
“D.A.R.E. for us (his family) is a family thing. My kids play Daren (the D.A.R.E. mascot) and my wife is always helping me with the program and graduations. It is truly a family event when everyone is available. My kids are really active in their schools but the program is often a family event when we all have the time,” Waters stated. “The D.A.R.E. graduations or community events that Sheriff Rodden has me help out with, it is my family helping me too. We hand out department info and community info.”
Waters continued, “It is kinda funny. The kids and adults both always say, you are always working rather it being promoting D.A.R.E. or the Sheriff’s Department. It is always good to get out and see the kids smiling. It is a way to let them know the Sheriff’s Department is the good guy and there to help, not the bad guy that some TV shows like to show.”
Sheriff Rodden is also proud of the job Waters is doing at Henryville and of the honor Waters recently received.
“It is a nice honor for Joe and the Clark County Sheriff’s Office. It is well deserved. It recognizes the work that has been done in establishing the D.A.R.E. program. The program was established the year I was elected. Joe was the initial guy who took the training and the catalyst to expand into other schools. We now have Kevin Simms and Bob O’Keefe in schools teaching the D.A.R.E. program,” Rodden explained. “We are pretty much covered in Clark County. We have taken care of our schools in our district with D.A.R.E. Joe worked well with other agencies and networked with Jeffersonville. I am very happy with his work. He enjoys being not only the D.A.R.E. officer but also the officer in the schools. Joe is doing very well.”
A very humble Waters found it difficult to promote himself or talk about the honor he recently received.
“It is an honor I am not deserving of. It’s just my job and I do it with all my being. It doesn’t matter if I am doing this in the school or my job on the street. I give it my all,” Waters concluded.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 13 September 2011 12:02