The STAND program was implemented in 2011 upon the completion of the Drug Market Intervention (DMI) in the Charleston Farms Community. This model was developed in High Point, North Carolina in hopes of reducing their overall violent crime rate and open-air drug market. South Carolina United States Attorney Bill Nettles introduced the concept to the City of North Charleston Police Department in 2010. A list was compiled of the communities based on the results from the computer crime mapping system to identify which of the neighborhoods would best benefit from the DMI. Identifying a neighborhood that had a high level of drug activity was not the only approach needed in the selection. A community that had the resources and dedication for this type of long-term program was paramount for any success. At the conclusion of the DMI 8 men were selected to participate in the STAND Program (Stop and Take A New Direction). They were provided two options, jail for the current charges or participate in the STAND program, forgoing prosecution. Four men completed the STAND Program and four were arrested for Distribution of Narcotics during the program.

In 2014 the program was reinvented at the direction of Chief Driggers. He directed the program be open to everyone in the community who were committed to changing their lives. Sgt Prosser developed the program to include the key elements that were missing from the first program. Mental health, career development and resiliency training were instituted as key components to the new STAND (Step Toward A New Direction) program. The group participates in Jobs for Life on Monday nights. This course focuses on the individual’s talents in choosing a career path, resume building and interview skills training. The women have their “Inspiring Women” group meetings led by detective Cerone, women talk openly and honestly about current issues facing women in their daily lives, within the workplace and at home. The men must attend “Father to Father”, this is a safe and positive atmosphere where they receive guidance and mentoring from experienced counselors and other father’s with the same concerns and issues affecting dad’s in today’s world.

The group will participate in group counseling on Wednesday’s with the STAND counselor, Michael Horvath. On Friday’s the participants read “Failing Forward” by John Maxwell, in a group setting. Each chapter is covered in detail and used as part of the roadmap to changing their lives. STAND is comprised of three phases and each phase is 16 weeks in length.

Anyone interested in the STAND Program can simply go to the second floor in City Hall and meet with Sgt Prosser or Detective Cerone to fill out paperwork required for entry into the program. The program does not provide the motivation or desire to change one’s life. The program provides the opportunity and the guidance in the process of changing one’s life. The desire to change must come from the participant themselves.