Lieutenant Tim Williams has final D.A.R.E graduation after 20 years with the program
MISHAWAKA --- Lieutenant Tim Williams of the Mishawaka Police Department is preparing to hang up his badge after more than three decades on the force, but not before one last D.A.R.E graduation where he started at Hums Elementary School.
Lieutenant Williams has served as a police officer for 34 years, 20 of those were with the D.A.R.E program.
On Wednesday Williams finished the program where he started, at Hums, where he was joined by Mayor Dave Wood, parents, students and teachers for his final ceremony.
Mishawaka’s D.A.R.E program was started back in 1986, educating students about drugs and alcohol, something Lieutenant Williams said he’s been blessed to be a part of the last 20 years.
“Dare means everything to me. I’ve been blessed to be chosen as the D.A.R.E Officer 20 years ago, putting me in a position where I can get to honestly learn, know and meet a lot of the students in the community,” he said.
Williams believes he has taught about 15,000 students over two decades, with fifth grade teacher Laura Sousley alongside Williams since 2002, witnessing his impact firsthand.
“I see big differences with the students. I see kids who want to do what’s right, who want to find and figure out their natural high and touch other people’s lives,” added Sousley.
Those lessons from Williams’ are something both previous and current students ABC57 spoke with said have meant so much in their lives.
“I just remember being in the classroom with Lieutenant Williams and I was excited to have a police officer in there with us teaching us how to make good decisions, being responsible and things like that,” said Hums Elementary Physical Education teacher Chad Roggeman, who went through one of Williams’ first D.A.R.E classes at the elementary school in 2002.
“I’m so thankful to have had his last class at Hums and it’s just, he was amazing as a D.A.R.E Officer. I’m going to miss him a lot,” added Hums Elementary 5th grader Maelyn Morrison.
Lieutenant Williams said the department is still looking for an officer to replace him for the district-wide D.A.R.E. program.
After retirement from the police department Williams plans to help run a grant program to help underserved youth make good choices.
ABC57's special series Beyond the Badge will also air a full story on February 3 looking at Lieutenant William's impact beyond the classroom.