Jones is Honored Nationally by L.E.A.D. for Her Dedication to Training Officers on the Organization’s Anti-Drug, Anti-Violence Curriculum
COLLIER COUNTY, FL – April 11, 2023 – L.E.A.D. (Law Enforcement Against Drugs & Violence), a nationwide nonprofit that works with communities to help students understand the dangers of drugs and violence, awarded “L.E.A.D.er of the Year” to Beth Jones, a retired youth services division captain in Collier County. The award was announced at L.E.A.D.’s Eighth Annual 21st Century Drug and Violence Prevention Training Conference in Atlantic City, New Jersey. It was presented to Jones for her excellent job as a “L.E.A.D.er,” working to put trained instructors in classrooms across the country to make a difference in their communities with school-aged children.
Before retiring two years ago, Jones worked for the Collier County Sheriff’s Office for 32 years. Since her retirement, she’s continued as a “L.E.A.D.er” and Master Trainer for the program. In these roles, Beth ensures that those who are already instructors for the program are properly teaching the curriculum, in addition to training police officers to become new instructors for the program.
Beth Jones pictured with L.E.A.D. CEO Nick DeMauro, with her “L.E.A.D.er of the Year” award
“We congratulate Beth on her outstanding work training law enforcement and school personnel to teach our program,” said Nick DeMauro, CEO of L.E.A.D. “Beth has expanded the network of instructors trained on the L.E.A.D. curriculum. As a result, she’s helping more students to become educated on the dangers of drugs and violence, which continue to be a problem for young students across the country.”
L.E.A.D. provides services “On the Street” and “In the Classroom” as it brings law enforcement and communities closer together. The “In the Classroom” program is taught by 3800 certified instructors in 41 states. L.E.A.D. has a proven effective, law enforcement-focused anti–drug, anti–violence curriculum for K-12 students in the U.S. The L.E.A.D. curriculum is taught over the course of a 10-week program to educate youth on how they can make smart decisions without the involvement of drugs or violence.
Jones was first introduced to the program six years ago when she was looking for an evidence-based drug and alcohol prevention curriculum for students in Collier County. During that time, she supervised 120 officers in the Youth Services Division at the Collier County Sheriff’s Department.
After a year and a half of piloting the program in select schools, L.E.A.D. is now taught to fifth graders in 29 elementary public schools, six charter schools, and three private schools in the county. Under the direction of Jones and Sheriff Kevin Rambosk, Collier County was the first county to teach the program in Florida, which is now present in other parts of the state as well.
“For me, the most valuable part of the L.E.A.D. curriculum is how it initially starts with lessons on goal setting, making good decisions, and managing your emotions,” said Jones. “Developing these skills are building blocks before we introduce strategies to help students deal with peer pressure. Each time the kids go through a lesson, we revert to our foundation and teach them that if they make a bad decision when it comes to drugs, alcohol, or over-the-counter marijuana, it may hinder their goals.”
Jones says that the most rewarding part of working with students in Collier County has been building a relationship within the community.
“Being a L.E.A.D. instructor wasn’t just about teaching the students the curriculum to help them make better decisions about drugs and alcohol,” she said. “It was the underlying relationship and trust that was being formed. When a student asks you to come sit with them at lunch or stops you at a gas station to talk, then you feel like you’ve made a difference in that young person’s life.”
Jones was so passionate about being involved with the program that she put retirement on hold and accepted a job as L.E.A.D.’s State Program Administrator for Florida about a month ago. In this position, she’ll be working with other law enforcement agencies throughout the state to implement L.E.A.D. in their communities.
“Other law enforcement agencies in Florida are already interested in teaching the program to their students, and I’m excited to assist them in bringing this curriculum to schools in their area,” said Jones. “There’s a real war going on in this country with drugs and violence, and I’m passionate about giving our children the tools they need to make good decisions.”
L.E.A.D. provides the leadership, resources, and management to ensure law enforcement agencies have the means to partner with educators, community leaders, and families. L.E.A.D. succeeds by providing proven, effective programs to deter youth and adults from drug use, drug-related crimes, bullying, and violence. L.E.A.D. is committed to reinforcing mutual respect, goodwill, and relations between law enforcement and their communities. For more information, visit https://www.leadrugs.org/.
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