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Police in Schools - Gang Resistance and Education Training Program

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Police in Schools - Gang Resistance and Education Training Program

Police In Schools

Gang Resistance and Education Training Program

In 1991, the G.R.E.A.T. Program was developed through a combined effort of the U.S.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Phoenix Police Department.

The program began as an eight lesson middle school curriculum. In early 1992, the first

G.R.E.A.T. Officer Training was held, and in 1993, the program added four additional law

enforcement agencies to assist in administering the program: La Crosse, Wisconsin, Police

Department; County, Florida, Sheriff’s Office; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Police Department;

and Portland, Oregon, Police Bureau.

In 1995, a five-year longitudinal evaluation was initiated which showed the following

positive results for students who completed the training: lower levels of victimization, more

negative views about gangs, more favorable attitudes about police, reduction in risk-seeking

behaviors, and increased association with peers involved in pro-social activities.

During 1999-2000, the program underwent an extensive program and curriculum review.

The objective was to ensure program adherence to the latest scientifically supported data

regarding prevention and educational research and theory. This review enhanced the original

program to 13 lessons, placed more emphasis on active learning, and increased teacher

involvement. The new curriculum was successfully piloted in 14 cities nationwide in 2001 and

implemented nationally beginning in 2003. Currently, the G.R.E.A.T. Program consists of a 13-

week middle school curriculum, an elementary curriculum, a summer program, and families


In 2004, Congress directed that overall program administration be transferred to the

Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). In October 2004, a grant was

awarded by BJA to the Institute for Intergovernmental Research (IIR) to provide national training

coordination services and related tasks.

Since its inception in 1991, over 8,000 law enforcement officers have been certified as

G.R.E.A.T. instructors and more than four million students have graduated from the G.R.E.A.T.

Program. (

Gang Resistance Education and Training provides a school-based, peace officer

instructed program that includes classroom instruction and various learning activities, the use of

law enforcement officers having several advantages. They have a wide range of experience in

recognizing and combating criminal behavior, they have the ability to recognize gang members,

they are equipped with a referral knowledge, and most importantly can be a positive role model

to students.

The instruction of life skills is the foundation of the program. In accordance with a study

by Dr. Esbensen in 2000, delinquency often serves as a precursor to gang involvement, the

GREAT program focuses on providing life skills to students to help them avoid delinquent

behavior and resorting

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