Watertown Police Officers stay busy all throughout the year teaching D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) to all 5th grade students in Watertown.
D.A.R.E. began in 1983 with the Los Angeles Police Department and the LA Unified School District. The program began as a way to develop an approach to prevent substance abuse among children. The Watertown Police Department started teaching D.A.R.E. in 1994.
The elementary curriculum is delivered by a certified D.A.R.E. officer and includes one lesson per week for 10 consecutive weeks. Students are provided with accurate information on drugs and alcohol, as well as learning decision-making skills. Students learn how to resist peer pressure and are given positive alternatives to drugs and alcohol. A wide variety of teaching techniques are used, including question and answer, group discussions, role-playing, and workbook exercises. D.A.R.E. teaches children the skills they need to recognize and resist the subtle and overt pressures that may lead them to experiment with drugs and alcohol, recognize responsible decision making processes, and help combat bullying.
Currently, the Watertown Police Department has 7 D.A.R.E. instructors. These officers teach all 5th grade students in Watertown at the Watertown Intermediate, Watertown Christian, Immaculate Conception, and St. Martins Lutheran Schools. Approximately 350 5th grade students in Watertown graduate each year from D.A.R.E.