D.A.R.E. mascots name raises eyebrows in Ferguson

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

FERGUSON, MO (KTVI) – The Ferguson Police Department’s DARE vehicle got an update from a standard van to a newly decorated Humvee.

On the side of the Humvee is the DARE mascot Daren the Lion.

Ferguson Police Chief Delrish Moss said Daren has been the mascot for DARE since the 80's.

Some Ferguson residents think that is an inappropriate name for a mascot in that area.

In a post on the cities website Daren the Lion was spelled wrong, with two R’s like Officer Darren Wilson.

"People thought immediately of Darren Wilson and that he is being lionized on the side of a militarized police vehicle in our community," said Ferguson resident Emily Davis.

Moss said Daren the Lion was on their previous DARE vehicle and has been introduced to kids in Ferguson for decades.

"To say that this somehow relates to Michael Brown or Darren Wilson is a stretch because this predates that incident and no one was thinking that way because we were innocently trying to appeal to children," said Moss.

Some parents are also upset with the choice of vehicle, a Humvee.

"These militarized vehicles were used during a military occupation of Ferguson during a stressful period of a lot of our children's lives," said Davis.

Moss said the vehicle was donated to the department in 2011 and they wanted to use it for something fun.

Some residents still feel like the new DARE vehicle is a slap in the face that the city and school district did not think through.

Moss said they intended the vehicle to be used as a positive way to keep kids away from drugs and nothing else.