Lansing police officer is back for a G.R.E.A.T cause

“It was a really positive experience for me.”
Published: Aug. 10, 2022 at 10:16 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - A Lansing police officer in came full circle in a program to keep kids out of gangs. It’s called the G.R.E.A.T Program - Gang Resistance Education and Training.

Lansing police officer De’Jeeiare Davis was a student in the program while attending Lewton Elementary, and now he’s training with other officers from across the state on how to better connect with kids to prevent violence. Davis said the program helped him decide on his career at the Lansing Police Department. Now he’s back as an instructor to give back to his community.

“You know back in elementary school, if someone told me one day I’d grow up and become a police officer and teach the program, I probably wouldn’t believe that,” Davis said.

He said the class changed his life and he wants to change others by inspiring young kids the way his instructor inspired him.

“I had him probably 8 or 9 years ago in class and it’s kind of nice to see someone that I had in class not only become a Lansing police officer but, be willing to give back and become a great instructor himself,” said Drew Macon, former Lansing police officer.

Davis will be certified to teach the G.R.E.A.T Program on Friday. He said he feels a connection with the kids because he grew up in the same city and has spent time in many of the same schools.

“They think differently when you tell them that you went through the program or that you went to the same school,” said Davis.

The G.R.E.A.T Program is designed for elementary and middle school students but, the lessons can be applied throughout their lives.

“Things like goal-setting - so it teaches you how to set goals, timelines, things you need to accomplish in order to do that. Anger management teaches you things like how to control your breathing and certain physical, emotional things to look for when you’re getting angry or upset,” said Davis.

Lessons the officers will take back to nine different communities where kids will learn how to stay out of trouble. But more than that, realize police aren’t the bad guys - they’re here to help.

“Meet us and understand that we actually care about what they do and their development, and we want to show them that we want to have fun just as much as they want to have fun but, there’s also a time for us to be serious and take care of business,” said Macon.

The instructors for the G.R.E.A.T Program spend about 35 to 45 minutes, over a course of 13 weeks, working through a lesson plan with 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th grade students. The instructors also work to build relationships with students outside of the classroom by going to their athletic events, band concerts, and more.

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