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February 13, 2007:
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PRINCE FREDERICK, Md. - Calvert County Sheriff Mike Evans yesterday reported that his office was receiving numerous "complaints and concerns" from local residents regarding donations being solicited in the name of the Calvert County D.A.R.E. program. According to a department spokesman, representatives from GEOPAT Enterprises, Inc. were setting up tables and kiosks in front of various retail stores in Calvert County. They were selling products branded with the D.A.R.E. logo. Consumers were told that a portion of the proceeds benefited the D.A.R.E. program.
GEOPAT Enterprises, Inc. is a Baltimore based marketing company. On their website, they describe themselves as "an event based promotional company that works with the community to create awareness and revenue for charitable and non profit organizations for children." According to the Sheriff's Office spokesman, GEOPAT has been given permission by D.A.R.E. America to use their logo and D.A.R.E. America receives a portion of the solicited funds.
We contacted GEOPAT via telephone today and they told us that only 20% of the proceeds from their marketing efforts make it back to D.A.R.E. America. Sheriff Evans noted that of this 20%, some of it is used to offset the cost of workbooks used by the local program. So, in effect, only a very small portion of what the consumer would give to GEOPAT would actually benefit the local Calvert County program.
Sheriff Evans noted in a released statement that, "The solicitation matter has been addressed with GEOPAT and the Maryland State D.A.R.E. Coordinator and should not be a problem in the future."
Sheriff Evans advises citizens who would like to contribute to the local D.A.R.E. program do so by sending a check to the Sheriff's Office. Evans noted that there is an account in the Treasurer's Office for the Calvert County D.A.R.E. Program where every penny donated is used for children in the Calvert County program. Checks should be made out to "Calvert County Sheriff's Office" and put "D.A.R.E. Program" in the memo field. Checks can be mailed to 30 Church Street, Prince Frederick, Md. 20678.
D.A.R.E. stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education. It is a national program that takes local police officers into classrooms to educate children about "how to resist peer pressure and live productive drug and violence-free lives."