Stephens Co. Commission Provides Funds for CHAMPS, Explorer Program

After some discussion, Stephens County Commissioners agree to provide funding for the Sheriff’s Office CHAMPS program and Explorer program.

Commissioners unanimously approved the request for funding from the Sheriff’s Office, which totaled $4,800, at their meeting last Tuesday.

The money is coming from the county’s Drug Abuse Treatment and Education, or DATE, funds.  Those funds are collected through court fines.

Stephens County Commissioner Dean Scarborough noted that the county has a limited amount in the DATE fund, which was previously pledged to the county’s new drug court.

“Our problem is finite,” said Scarborough.  “It is just dollars.”

Representatives from the Sheriff’s Office pointed out that the CHAMPS program, which stands for Choosing Healthy Activities and Methods Promoting Safety, is taught to every fifth grader in the county and takes a proactive approach, while drug court is a reactive one.

County Commissioner Dennis Bell said he feels a proactive approach is important.

“I would rather see us be proactive than reactive any time,” said Bell.

Commissioners also questioned whether DATE funds could be used for the Explorer program, noting that the money from that fund must be spent on drug abuse education and treatment programs.

The Sheriff’s Office said that the Explorer program, which is available to high-school age students, does have a drug education component.

Out of the $4,800 approved by county commissioners, $3,800 will go to the CHAMPS program, while $1,000 will go to the Explorer program.