LeAnn Smith is a Gladstone police officer and has been teaching Drug Abuse Resistance Education in the North Kansas City Schools district for 27 years. She has been the school resource officer at Antioch Middle School for 14 years.

The best part of the job, she said, is working with students and developing strong relationships. Smith was surprised with the Missouri DARE Lifetime Achievement Award this summer at the MO DARE conference in Kansas City.

DARE — aimed at giving kids the skills they need to avoid drugs, gangs and violence — was founded in 1983 and has been implemented in thousands of schools throughout the United States and more than 50 other countries. The program is a police officer-led series of classroom lessons that teaches children from kindergarten through 12th grade how to resist peer pressure and live productive drug and violence-free lives, according the organization. The program seeks to “teach students good decision-making skills to help them lead safe and healthy lives.”

After 35 years on the job with the Gladstone Police Department, Smith is planning to retire in July.