History of the D.A.R.E. Program


In January 1983, Chief Daryl F. Gates of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) approached Dr. Harry Handler, Superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), expressing concerns about drug problems facing society. As a result of this meeting, a task force comprised of LAPD and LAUSD personnel was appointed to develop a drug abuse program for elementary school children.

In September 1983, the D.A.R.E. pilot program was introduced in selected Los Angeles City Schools by ten LAPD officers. Before entering the classroom, the officers participated in 80 hours of training, including curriculums on teaching technique, elementary school operation, preparation of visual aids, officer-school DARE KIDSrelations, communication skills, and child development.

The Illinois State Police adopted the D.A.R.E. pilot program from the Los Angeles Model. Together, the Illinois State Police (ISP), State Board of Education, Department of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, local educators and police officials laid the groundwork for an Illinois pilot program that began in January 1987.

Each school is visited once a week for 17 weeks by an assigned instructor/officer. Lessons last 45 to 60 minutes and involve students in a variety of exercises, both written and oral. The instructor spends the entire day at the school. Aside from D.A.R.E. instruction, officer's present short talks on basic safety issues in grades Kindergarten through 4th grade, meet with teachers, and interact with students at lunch and recess.