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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

May 27, 2011

Contact: Helen Dunkel, Special Agent, PIO

Office: (925) 557-2815

Cell: (925) 202-8135

ATF Celebrates the G.R.E.A.T. Anti–Gang Program’s 20th Anniversary

SAN FRANCISCO — Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Stephen C. Herkins announced today that this year marks the 20th anniversary of the national Gang Resistant Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.) program.

On the heels of the anniversary, approximately 90 students from PA Walsh Elementary School, Morgan Hill, graduated the G.R.E.A.T. program and received certificates and G.R.E.A.T. t–shirts in recognition of their effort to avoid gangs and youth violence. The students completed a thirteen–week G.R.E.A.T. program taught by an ATF instructor. Morgan Hill Mayor Steve Tate; Claudia Rossi, Morgan Hill Unified School District, Board of Education trustee; and SAC Herkins presented certificates to the students.

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 violence. They learn to set goals, resist peer pressure, respect differences, resolve conflicts, and understand how gangs negatively impact the quality of life. The students also learn the importance of becoming responsible members of their communities.

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.
  • 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.

Nationwide, more than six million children have trained in the G.R.E.A.T. program. To date, approximately 11,650 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 from 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. For additional information on the program, visit G.R.E.A.T. at http://www.great–

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