DETROIT, May 25, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Assistant Special Agent in Charge William Temple of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) announced that today’s baseball game between the Detroit Tigers and the Tampa Bay Rays marks a 17-year partnership between ATF and the Detroit Tigers Organization with the Gang Resistance Education And Training “GREAT” anti-gang program. Additionally, this year marks the 20th anniversary of the national GREAT program.
“The Detroit Tigers Organization has dedicated a game each year to the GREAT program and the Tigers continue to demonstrate the team’s commitment to the education and training of the children of Michigan,” said Temple. “ATF and the Detroit Tigers salute our law enforcement partners, the Detroit and Brownstown Police Departments, for their longstanding commitment to GREAT and to educating our youth in Michigan,” he added.
Approximately 1,300 students from Detroit, Brownstown Township, Gibraltar, Rockwood, and Woodhaven are scheduled to attend today’s game, dressed in their GREAT t-shirts that indicate their effort to avoid gangs and youth violence. GREAT officers will chaperone the students along with school administrators, teachers and parent volunteers.
Others expected to join Temple at today’s game in support of GREAT are Brownstown’s Director of Public Safety James S. Sclater, Detroit Police Deputy Chief James W. Tolbert and GREAT Midwest Regional Administrator Lieutenant Raj Ramnarace.
With the support and guidance of specially trained law enforcement officers, GREAT students develop beliefs and practice behaviors that will help them avoid destructive conduct. They learn to set goals, resist pressures, respect differences, resolve conflicts, and understand how gangs negatively impact the quality of their lives. The students also learn the importance of becoming responsible members of their communities. The 13-week GREAT curriculum is available to students at the middle school level.
The goals of GREAT include the following:
- Reduce the incidence of violent youth crime.
- Resolve conflicts without resorting to violence.
- Provide youth with skills to make sound choices.
- Provide activities for GREAT graduates during summer months.
- Involve teachers, parents, and communities.
- Teach youth to recognize indicators of gang involvement in their communities.
ATF developed and implemented the GREAT program with the Phoenix Police Department in 1991 to deter youth violence and crime by reducing involvement in gangs. ATF currently has numerous partnerships with local and state agencies, as well as with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and the Police Athletic League.
Nationwide, more than 6 million children have trained in the GREAT program. To date, approximately 11,650 officers from 2,400 agencies representing 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Canada, Bermuda, the United Kingdom, and military personnel from overseas bases have been trained to present the GREAT curriculum in elementary and middle school classrooms.
ATF recognizes that enforcement efforts need to be combined with prevention to successfully combat the problems of gangs in our communities. For additional information on the program, visit GREAT at http://www.great-online.org.
More information on ATF can be found at www.atf.gov