EATONTOWN — Ryan Hennelly, a patrolman in the Eatontown Police Department and a master trainer for Law Enforcement Against Drugs and Violence (LEAD), joined the sixth episode of “A Police Officer You Should Know with Joe Piscopo.”
The podcast series, hosted by Joe Piscopo, highlights police officers across the United States who, during the school day, teach the curriculum implemented by LEAD, a nationwide nonprofit organization that works with communities to help students understand the dangers of drugs and violence, according to a press release.
Hennelly has been involved with LEAD since the inception of the program, instructing sixth-graders at the Margaret L. Vetter School.
Teaching the program allows him to work with the students on strengthening their goal setting, decision making and communication skills, in addition to helping them understand why avoiding drugs and violence is vital, according to the press release.
LEAD has a proven effective, law enforcement-focused, anti–drug, anti–violence curriculum for K-12 students in the United States, according to the press release.
The program provides services “on the street” and “in the classroom,” bringing communities and police forces closer together. There are 3,000 trained instructors in 41 states who teach the “in the classroom” program, which is taught over 10 weeks to educate students on how they can make smart decisions without drugs or violence.
In the podcast episode, Hennelly shares his experience as a master trainer for LEAD, in which he coaches police officers throughout the country to become instructors for the organization.
“I have been blessed to travel across the country to states such as Nevada and Tennessee, to name a couple, to train police officers to teach the program in their respective areas.
“The organization has been expanding so it can be implemented in areas where children and communities desperately need the proven effective curriculum and it is exciting to be part of that process,” he said.
Through his role as a police officer and his involvement in LEAD for several years, Hennelly discusses how he gets to deal with people firsthand who have used drugs and analyze the dangerous substances that destroy families.
“I have been able to understand that the pressure from a significant other is a large reason why people get involved in drugs in the first place.
“People want to be accepted and loved by their boyfriend or girlfriend, and if that person introduces them to a harmful substance, it is likely they will feel pressured to try it. We need to discuss this concept as part of the LEAD curriculum even more,” he said.
Also discussed in the podcast episode is the LEAD Fest Carnival in Eatontown, which was held for the second time in June and will return in 2023, according to the press release.
“The week-long event has awesome food and rides, and it takes place right after we host a graduation for our LEAD students, so they get free admission,” said Hennelly. “We greatly appreciate our partnership with LEAD and we are excited for the carnival to come back as it is a huge fundraiser for our program in Eatontown.”
“A Police Officer You Should Know with Joe Piscopo” is available on Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts and Spotify, and also through Alexa and Google smart speakers.