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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

News Release

Detroit Field Division

For Immediate Release

Thursday, May 14, 2015
Contact: Special Agent Donald Dawkins

ATF, The Detroit Tigers Team Up For Kid's Sake

DETROIT – Special Agent in Charge S. Robin Shoemaker of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Detroit Field Division announced that today’s baseball game between the Detroit Tigers and the Minnesota Twins highlights a 21-year partnership between ATF, the Detroit Tigers Organization and the Gang Resistance Education and Training “G.R.E.A.T.” anti-gang program.

“The Detroit Tigers Organization has dedicated a game each year to the G.R.E.A.T. program. The Tigers continue to demonstrate the team’s commitment to this event and the importance of educating and teaching Michigan’s children through this program. Attending today’s game is one of the many rewards the students will experience for their commitment and pledge to live a life free of the negative influences of street gangs, “said Shoemaker. “ATF and the Detroit Tigers would like to thank the Detroit Police Department, for their longstanding commitment and support of G.R.E.A.T. and the community they serve. Most importantly we would like to thank the students for their dedication and hard work throughout the year”.

This year approximately 350 students from Detroit Public Schools are scheduled to attend today’s game, dressed in their G.R.E.A.T. T-shirts affirming their effort to avoid gangs and youth violence. G.R.E.A.T. officers along with school administrators, teachers and parent volunteers will chaperone the students.

Others expected to join Shoemaker at today’s game in support of G.R.E.A.T. are United States Attorney Barbara McQuade, Detroit Police Chief James Craig and ATF G.R.E.A.T. Program Outreach Manager Warren Harding.

With the support and guidance of specially trained law enforcement officers, G.R.E.A.T. students develop beliefs and practice behaviors that will help them avoid destructive conduct. They learn to set goals, resist peer pressure, respect differences, resolve conflicts, and understand how gangs can negatively impact their quality of life. The students also learn the importance of becoming responsible members of their communities. The 13-week G.R.E.A.T. curriculum is available to students at the elementary and middle school level.

The goals of G.R.E.A.T. include the following:

  • Reduce the incidence of violent youth crime;
  • Resolve conflicts without resorting to violence;
  • Provide youth with skills to make sound choices;
  • Provide activities for G.R.E.A.T. graduates during summer months;
  • Involve teachers, parents, and communities; and
  • Teach youth to recognize indicators of gang involvement in their communities.

ATF developed and implemented the G.R.E.A.T. program with the Phoenix Police Department in 1991 to deter youth violence and crime by reducing involvement in gangs. ATF currently has numerous partnerships with local and state agencies, as well as with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and the Police Athletic League.

Nationwide, more than 7 million children have trained in the G.R.E.A.T. program. To date, approximately 13,000 officers from 2,400 agencies representing 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Canada, Bermuda, the United Kingdom, and military personnel at overseas bases have been trained to present the G.R.E.A.T. curriculum in elementary and middle school classrooms.

ATF recognizes that enforcement efforts need to be combined with prevention to successfully combat the problems of gangs in our communities. ATF has supported the G.R.E.A.T. program since 1992. For additional information on the program, visit G.R.E.A.T. at http://www.great-online.org.

More information on ATF can be found at www.atf.gov.

Note to editors: Media interested in footage/photos/interviews with the kids in the stands or an interview with any of the agency representatives regarding the Tigers G.R.E.A.T. game and the G.R.E.A.T. program should contact ATF PIO Donald Dawkins, (313)407-6018 (cellular phone).

Field Division: Detroit Field Division