Jackson DARE officer teaches dangers of drugs, alcohol

JACKSON, Tenn. — Each week in February in honor of Black History Month, WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News recognizes an African-American making an impact in the community.

Jackson Police Officer Patrick Cozart talks to students about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. He got into law enforcement eight years ago and joined the Jackson Police Department four years ago.

“I got to thinking one day that maybe I wanted a change, something in my life, to do something positive,” Cozart said.

Cozart is currently the only Drug Abuse Resistance Education, or D.A.R.E., officer for the Jackson Police Department. He teaches two days a week at Arlington Elementary School in Jackson.

“If there’s nobody else in their life that’s a positive influence, I want to be that positive influence,” Cozart said.

Co-workers call Cozart “32,” because all 32 of his teeth are usually showing. He smiles a lot. “I try to be as positive as I can,” Cozart said. “I do smile a lot.”

Cozart also works with the department’s street crimes unit. His supervisor, Sgt. Justin Harris, said Cozart never meets a stranger. “Kids love him,” Harris said. “People love him. He knows everybody from the richest person to the poorest person.”

Cozart said being a police officer is hard. “We put our lives on the line every single day,” he said.

Cozart said his No. 1 priority is to go home at night. “There’s no way I can provide for my family if I’m not here, so that’s always in the back of my head even though I’m smiling,” he said.

Cozart connects with kids. He hopes what they learn from him in the classroom translates into life lessons. “These young kids are our future,” he said. “They’re watching and listening to every single thing that we’re saying and that we’re doing.”

Cozart said he covers everything from drugs to alcohol and bullying in his D.A.R.E. classes.

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