March 21, 2013

Youth advocate to speak at high schools

LPD sponsors ‘True Lies’ presentation by Phil Chalmers

By Magen McCrarey
Staff Writer

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — Decision making can be tough for teens and families in the fast-paced society of today, so the London Police Department is bringing in youth advocate expert Phil Chalmers to talk it out.  Chalmers will be leading an assembly called "True Lies" at North and South Laurel high schools on Tuesday, March 26, with an evening presentation for the community at First Baptist Church, located on West Fifth Street, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

True Lies breaks down the myths and reveals the blunt truth about school safety, substance abuse, tobacco use, bullying, dangers of drunk driving, and destructive entertainment among many more.  According to LPD School Resource Officers (SRO) Mike Holliday and Sgt. Travis Dotson, it's never too early to talk to young adults and their parents about the dangers and signs of drug usage or bullying.

"We're finding now, even middle and elementary schools, kids talk about that stuff. They know about it and they know it's there," Holliday said.

"We have seen middle school kids with drugs, marijuana, and pills — so they know what's going on.  Hopefully, it will educate and show them a little glimpse of the future of what harm it's going to cause their body," Dotson added.

Last year, Holliday and Dotson attended a Juvenile Homicide Boot Camp lead by Chalmers.  Chalmers is hailed as America's leading authority on juvenile homicide and juvenile mass murder.  In addition, the two SROs have been chosen by Chalmers to be trained as  "Sudden Impact" speakers this year.  As members of the Sudden Impact speaking team, Holliday and Dotson will be able to take their school involvement to the next level, Dotson said.

"We've been in the schools for 12 years. We're there for security everyday.  But we're wanting to move into doing the educational aspect of it," Holliday said.

"Our involvement will be going from one classroom at a time to a school-wide assembly. The Sudden Impact team will take us beyond Laurel County.  Our goal is to reach as many kids as we can," Dotson said.  "We are fortunate to have a department chief that is on the same level as we are."

"We are willing to do whatever it takes to get this out in the schools and community, to work on all these problems," Holliday said.

Dotson said Chalmers' presentation isn't just about school violence and drugs. He covers the whole gamut, including abstinence and self worth.  Holliday said the London Police Department hopes by bringing Chalmers to Laurel County, it will open up the eyes of the youth in a way that they can respond to.

"Having kids safe and secure is our number one goal," Dotson said.

Chalmers is not only a youth advocate but a father to two adopted sons, and has been married for 25 years to Barb Chalmers.  He has interviewed 200 teen killers and school shooters and has studied youth culture and teen murder for 25 years.  He is the author of numerous books and documentaries, is a police trainer, and has appeared on several television shows such as Spike TV's "Don't be a Victim," and E! Network’s "Too Young To Kill" and "Billionaire Crime Scenes."

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