Q&A: New face in fight against substance abusePhoto:3107536,left;

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Lisa Davis, the new substance abuse coordinator for the Carson City Sheriff's Office, poses next to her office.

BRAD HORN/Nevada Appeal Lisa Davis, the new substance abuse coordinator for the Carson City Sheriff's Office, poses next to her office.

Lisa Davis is the new substance abuse coordinator for the Carson City Sheriff's Department. She replaces Mary Wolkimir, who moved to Florida with her husband. She will lead drug education programs in the community, including heading up the reinstated Drug Awareness Resistance Education.

What qualifies you for the position?

My education consists of a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice, completion of a peace officer academy, with additional training in substance abuse prevention and intervention, student support group facilitation, chemical-dependency counseling. I have more than seven years of experience as a substance abuse-prevention coordinator for school districts in New Mexico and more than four years of experience as a juvenile probation officer in Elko. I enjoy coordinating prevention programs because working with youth is challenging, more hopeful and fun.

What are the program goals for this year?

Our goals for this year are straightforward. Our department plans to:

• Continue instructing DARE PLUS classes.

• Expand the range of our services by offering a variety of awareness presentations and community-based activities.

• Continue building and strengthening relationships within the community.

How do you see the Carson City Sheriff's Department combating substance abuse?

The Carson City Sheriff's Department is very committed to combating substance abuse and to providing a high level of excellence in the field of law enforcement. The Sheriff's Department is providing:

• Deputies to provide enforcement.

• Tri-Net, which works to reduce the availability of controlled substances.

• School deputies who are assigned to the schools to work with the youth.

• Prevention in the form of DARE PLUS (revised with research-based instruction that helps students make healthy decisions) and other educational and community awareness projects and activities.

Substance abuse has a devastating effect on all levels of society - individuals, families, businesses and schools. Sheriff Kenny Furlong has directed us to take action to reach young people.

How has your experience in Carson City differed from that of other places? What talents and advantages do you perceive in our community that will strengthen substance abuse efforts?

People are genuine, friendly and want to help each other succeed. I have been in places that were closed, distant and cold. Carson City definitely shines by comparison. I feel like a welcome mat was rolled out for me. The people I have met and the department that has graciously hired me all work from a can-do ethic that models respect. There is great talent and advantage when working with individuals who come together for the greater cause.

I attended the police academy here a few years ago and have wanted to live in this area since. I liked it then and love it now. I feel very fortunate to be here and look forward to the challenges ahead.

Besides providing DARE in the classroom, what other prevention opportunities do you want to pursue?

This program is in the infancy stages of development and could grow anywhere. The full plan will be designed step-by-step and based on needs. We plan to build on past successes such as Cops and Kids, Sheriff's Open House, perhaps a sporting event. We will also partner with other organizations to provide a cohesive community-wide effort.

The mayor and Board of Supervisors have identified substance abuse as a critical issue for our community. What suggestions can you offer?

Crisis always brings opportunity. Admitting there is a problem is the first step. Making this issue a critical issue creates an environment conducive to taking action. I believe Carson City is beginning to address the issue as a community - law enforcement, the courts, government officials, churches, parents, teachers, youth, treatment organizations, businesses all have something to contribute.

There is not any single program or entity that can do it all. It might be beneficial to assess what services are in the community, and identify community strengths and weaknesses in order to create a more cohesive approach.

I believe that substance abuse is a very painful and personal issue that must be dealt with sensitively. This business is about connections - human connections, caring connections, accountability connections and people-to-people connections.


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