In 1990 Chief Jerry Gamble asked his Juvenile Officer, Lt. Harold Engold to look into a Drug Awarness Program being introduced by the Totowa Police Department in the public school system. The program was called D.A.R.E. , which stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education. D.A.R.E. was developed in the early 1980's by the Los Angeles School System and Police Department in response to the growing drug problem as a preventive proactive program. D.A.R.E. is a partnership between the local police department and the public school system. The program works by having a local police officer come into the school and personally teach 5th or 6th grade students the dangers and truth about drugs and their effects. The four areas that DARE Focus on are:
- Provides accurate information about alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs.
- Teaches the children decision making skills.
- Shows children how to resist peer pressure and violence.
- It provides positive alternatives to drug use and violence.
The 17 week program ends with a graduation not of completion but of a promise to the future by the students pledging to work toward a healthy life style by staying away from drugs and alcohol.
With Lt.Engold's recommendation to implement the program, Chief Gamble sent Lt Engold to the Bergan County Police Academy and became Haledon's first certified D.A.R.E. instructor. Having the support of then Mayor James Van Sickle and council members, Haledon was the second Municipality in Passiac County to implement the D.A.R.E. program.
Since the start, the program has expanded and so has the support staff. The Haledon Police Department currently has four certified D.A.R.E. instructors to meet the needs of the community.
D.A.R.E. has been supported by the community through the Haledon Municipal Alliance and the Haledon PBA.