The D.A.R.E. Program was founded in 1983 as a cooperative effort by the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles Unified School District to address juvenile involvement in drugs and gangs.
In 1984, HPD Officer Thomas Kaaiai was sent to Los Angeles to learn more about the program. Upon his return he submitted his assessment report to the HPD Command, and, with the cooperation of Department of Education officials, the program was presented to the Board of Education for approval.
The Board gave its approval for the program to be taught in Hawaii’s public school system, and in 1985, Officer Kaaiai introduced D.A.R.E. to four Oahu elementary schools.
During the years that followed, the program gained popularity here and across the nation. In 1988, the Honolulu Police Department’s D.A.R.E. Unit achieved accreditation as the State of Hawaii Training Center further spreading D.A.R.E. throughout the Big Island, Maui, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, Samoa, Saipan, Guam, the Marshall Islands, and to all the branches of the United States Armed Forces in the Pacific Region.
DARE America educators continued work to improve the curriculum, eventually achieving its acknowledgment as a School, Research, and Evidence-based program.
Today’s officers utilize D.A.R.E.’S “Keepin it REAL” curriculum to teach young students how to handle difficult personal problems such as substance abuse, peer pressure, and bullying.
The Honolulu Police Departments DARE Unit continues to help kids make healthy choices to live lives free from drugs and violence.