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Local officer D.A.R.E.'s to excel in the classroom

Sgt. Timothy Dow of the Northfield Police Department proudly displays his awards as the New Hampshire D.A.R.E. Officer of the Year, the bell he received from the Department of Education for excellence in education and his latest recognition for Dedication and Professionalism as part of the New Hampshire Congressional Law Enforcement awards. (Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
November 02, 2011
NORTHFIELD — People know him in a variety of roles, including Officer Phil, a D.A.R.E. instructor, or as Sgt. Timothy Dow of the Northfield Police Department, but one long time local police officer may now add the phrase "Award Winning" to his resume for the many recognitions he has received in keeping children safe and drug free at Southwick School in the Winnisquam School District.

Dow received his first accolades in June, when he was named the D.A.R.E. Officer of the Year, selected from more than 250 fellow instructors in police departments and school districts around the state.

"I've been a D.A.R.E. officer for 20 years now, so this was quite an honor for me," Dow said.

The nomination came from Southwick School, where he spends each school year teaching fifth graders about the dangers of tobacco, alcohol, marijuana and the peer pressure which can lead to their use. This year, a two-week instruction on bullying will be added to his curriculum.

Dow said he loves his time working with teachers, staff and students at the elementary school.

"I'm very fortunate to have such an outstanding rapport with everyone at Southwick," he said.

It's obvious the feeling is mutual.

In their nomination, the fifth grade team of Michael Bryant, Jessie Gannett, Shaun Dever and Candy Pederzani wrote, "From the minute Sergeant Dow walks in the door for his first class, he draws the students in with his energy and enthusiasm for learning. He takes a genuine interest in every student."

They added that Dow recognizes the need for flexibility in the classroom, and has even sacrificed his personal time in order to accommodate his students and their education, making him more than just a D.A.R.E. instructor.

"He is a member of our community, a police officer, an educator, a loving father and husband, and most importantly, a friend to the youth of our community," they said in their letter.

This year will mark Dow's 15th year at Southwick School. Prior to coming to the Northfield Police Department and teaching the fifth graders, Dow was a D.A.R.E. instructor for five years in Franklin, Andover and Hill during his career with the Franklin Police Department.

Since his D.A.R.E. award, the honors have continued to come in for Dow. He next received the New Hampshire Excellence in Education Award and a letter of congratulations from Gov. John Lynch for his accomplishments in the classroom. Letters have also poured in from Executive Councilor Daniel St. Hillaire, Northfield selectmen and more.

Most recently, Dow was among 40 police officers honored at the New Hampshire Police Standards and Training facility in Concord on Oct. 23, when he was selected as a recipient of a New Hampshire Congressional Law Enforcement Award for "Dedication and Professionalism."

"I walked into work one day and this letter (from Washington, D.C.) was sitting on my desk. I was shocked," said Dow.

Congressman Charles Bass wrote to Dow on behalf of himself and Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte and Congressman Frank Guinta, informing him of the decision. Bass said Dow's distinction as D.A.R.E. officer of the year brings honor to the Northfield Police, and they wished to further honor his dedication through the congressional law enforcement award.

The nomination came from within the law enforcement community, and Dow said to be recognized by his peers was meaningful.

The mission of the D.A.R.E. program is to teach children "good decision making skills to help them lead safe and healthy lives." Begun in 1983 in California, D.A.R.E. came to New Hampshire in 1988, and has now spread to all 50 states and 43 countries around the world. Besides the initial 80 hours of training required to teach the program, D.A.R.E. officers attend annual eight-hour training classes to maintain their certification as an instructor.

Dow said he has enjoyed the interaction with students through both D.A.R.E. and the Officer Phil safety program, which he teaches to students in kindergarten through fourth grade.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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