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Sporting an apron and a big puffy hat, Salt Lake County Sheriff Aaron Kennard aptly fit his self-proclaimed role Monday as "the county's best hot dog chef."

A culinary career change? Not exactly, said the sheriff, "I'm just a four-hour temp, serving food to a lot of kids."Kennard and several other county leaders kicked off Salt Lake County Government Week Monday by throwing an outdoor party for area DARE graduates at Wheeler Historical Farm, 6225 S. 900 East.

Initiated four years ago in dozens of Salt Lake County schools to help students stay away from drugs and violence, the Drugs and Alcohol Resistance Education program, or DARE, now boasts almost 10,000 graduates, said Ken-nard.

"The kids have responded great to the program, and it's exciting to see how their parents have supported them," he said. "We wanted to bring all of them together for a reunion just to say thanks."

The parking lot at Wheeler Historical Farm was transformed into what one parent called "a law enforcement Disneyland."

DARE grads spent the afternoon sitting in the cockpit of the sheriff's new patrol helicopter, munching on chips and hot dogs, enjoying a K-9 police dog demonstration and posing for photos in front of the DARE speed boat.

Presentations sponsored by the sheriff's department reminded DARE participants of lessons learned during their six-month course.

"Our class was always the best part of the school week," said 11-year-old Amy Thomas, a student at Canyon Rim Elementary. "I learned a lot about how to stay away from drugs and stuff like gangs. Our DARE instructor really helps us."