Law Enforcement Against Drugs & Violence (L.E.A.D.), a nationwide nonprofit committed to protecting communities from drugs and violence, awarded Deptford Police Cpl. William Rosati the “LEO Award.” It was presented to Rosati at L.E.A.D.’s Seventh Annual 21st Century Drug and Violence Prevention Training Conference in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
“We’re pleased to congratulate Cpl. Rosati on his outstanding work, during the school day, educating kids on the value of drug and violence prevention,” said Nick DeMauro, CEO of L.E.A.D. “Drugs and violence continue to be a problem for young students across the country, so we commend him on protecting those in Deptford from these dangers which, in turn, is bridging the gap between police forces and communities.”
L.E.A.D. provides services “on the street” and “in the classroom” as it brings law enforcement and communities closer together. The “in the classroom” program is taught by 3000 trained instructors in 41 states. L.E.A.D. has the only proven effective, law enforcement-focused anti–drug, anti–violence curriculum for K-12 students in the U.S. The L.E.A.D. curriculum is taught over the course of a 10-week program to educate youth on how they can make smart decisions without the involvement of drugs or violence.
This year, the L.E.A.D. program in Deptford is taught to 14 fifth grade classes of approximately 330 students at Shady Lane School, Lake Tract School, Oak Valley School and Good Intent School. Currently, Rosati teaches two of these classes, and he taught another two of them in the fall.
“Being a part of L.E.A.D. is extremely fulfilling as I’m able to emphasize the value of drug and violence prevention to kids,” said Rosati. “As both an instructor and supervisor for the program, I enjoy getting to work with our students hands-on as well as oversee the other L.E.A.D. instructors in Deptford to ensure they’re teaching the program to the best of their abilities.”
Since many kids haven’t interacted with a police officer or have heard negative things about law enforcement in the news, Rosati says he’s grateful to bond with and help his students understand that the role of the police is to protect and keep them safe.
“When I see the kids greet me with warm smiles as I enter the classroom, I know I’m helping L.E.A.D. with its goal of strengthening the relationship between police forces and communities,” he said. “I incorporate my experience as an officer into the lessons, which the kids love, and it’s rewarding knowing that the trust we’ve built has led them to rely on me rather than fear me.”
Educating children about drug use is personal to Rosati. The loss of his nephew, who fell into the wrong crowd and started using drugs, he says, is part of his motive for teaching the program.
“I don’t want any other parent to have to endure the pain that my sister still experiences every day,” said Corporal Rosati. “I made it my mission to teach L.E.A.D. to help our youth make the right decisions about drugs, alcohol and violence, and I take pride in the fact that my students know I truly care about their well-being and want them to live successful lives free of drugs.”