Programs – Dare

Dare Programs

The DARE program was founded in Los Angeles in 1983, and was created to combat youth substance abuse.  The program quickly spread across the country due to its successes within the school systems.  The Lafayette Police Department adopted this program in the mid-1990s, and for over 20 years, the department has invested resources into the education of our most vulnerable citizens, the children of this community, utilizing this program.

Over the years, the program has adapted to new research and was improved to include expanding the curriculum to include good decision-making, peer pressure, bullying, and positive attitudes and behaviors.  The new program, developed in partnership with Pennsylvania State University, is called “Keeping it Real” and includes the expanded curriculum beyond just substance abuse.  Research has found that the new program can not only increase decision-making ability, but also reduce marijuana, alcohol, and tobacco consumption by 44%.

Officer John Townsend is currently assigned to the position of DARE Officer.  He teaches the program in eight different schools and instructs over 3,500 students.  Not only is the information valuable, interaction with the uniformed officer instructing the program can build long-standing and strong relationships between Lafayette citizens and the police department.

Much of the costs of the program are generated through donations from the Lafayette community.  Equipment and classroom material are purchased with these essential donations.  Maintaining this valuable program is evidence that the Lafayette citizens care about the future of this community.  Implementing new facets of the current program, based on scientific research, has vastly improved the program.  With the community’s financial help, the Lafayette Police Department can keep this program going forward, building strong relationships between children and the police department and teaching valuable life and decision-making skills.