Longtime D.A.R.E. officer to retire after 34-year police career

Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 7:00 PM EST
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MISHAWAKA, Ind. (WNDU) - A well-known Mishawaka police officer will soon retire after more than three decades on the department - over half of those years spent trying to help youth through the D.A.R.E. program.

“When I heard that there was an opening for the D.A.R.E. program, I put in for it because I really wanted to be able to do more with the youth because the youth is our future,” commented Lt. Tim Williams.

For nearly two decades as a D.A.R.E. officer, Williams has taught students in Mishawaka about the importance of making smart choices. Next Wednesday, Williams will preside over the final D.A.R.E. program graduation of his law enforcement career before retiring in early March.

As the Mishawaka D.A.R.E. officer, Williams has spent time in most of the city’s schools where he teaches five days a week. He hopes to inspire students to chase, what he calls, their “natural high.”

“Are you going to, you know, give into the peer pressure and follow the actual false high that’s either going to lead to permanent brain damage, prison or death? So you know, I want to see your dreams come true,” Williams explained.

Williams has garnered awards for his work, including the 2017 Indiana D.A.R.E. Officer of the Year, though the MPD veteran of almost 34 years finds true fulfillment in seeing the impact of the program.

“I’ve seen a young man that came from a troubled home, that was adopted by a wonderful family, so that young man ended up playing Division I basketball,” said Williams. “You know, the interaction with him has just been unbelievable.”

Those day-to-day interactions with students are what Williams will miss the most when he retires.

“That’s going to be one of my hardest things to get over, is not seeing the children on a daily basis, Monday through Friday,” he said.

Williams has this message for all of his past and present D.A.R.E. students:

“I was blessed to be put in a position where I can meet you, where I can actually learn and get to know you. And to help give you information to help keep you safe...there’s not a day that’s gonna go by without me thinking about you. There’s not a day that’s gonna go by that I won’t say a prayer, asking God to touch your life every day. So your dreams come true.”

Following his March retirement, Williams will work full-time as a financial grant manager at a government agency.

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