Red Ribbon Week is a national drug awareness campaign that is held every year from October 23 - 31st. It began in 1985 in memory of Special Agent Enrique Camarena of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Camarena was abducted in February 1985, by Mexican drug traffickers while he was investigating a multi-billion dollar drug scam. He was beaten, tortured, and killed. Because of his belief that one person can make a difference, his sacrifice was recognized by Congress to honor him and all those who fight substance abuse. Millions of children and adults are asked to wear red ribbons to promote and celebrate a drug-free lifestyle.
Our office, combined with our counterpart in Southern District of Iowa, have sponsored the Enrique Camarena award since 1993. The award is given every year to a law enforcement officer who has truly exemplified making a difference in the lives of young people through drug prevention. A nomination form is sent out every fall to all law enforcement agencies in the state.
This year's 2004 award was presented to Captain Warren E. Leeps, with the Decorah Police Department, at the annual Red Ribbon banquet held in Des Moines on October 28. Leeps has been a police officer since 1977 and has been with the Decorah Police Force since 1980. He developed a Meth Awareness program which he took out into the community talking to anyone who would listen. This year alone he has presented his program over fifty times.
"Captain Leeps has committed his leadership and organizational skills to the future of Iowa's youth," said U.S. Attorney Charles Larson. "Because of his efforts and work being done by others like him, Iowa's youth are choosing healthy, drug-free lifestyles."
During the ceremony Iowa's Northern and Southern districts were honored to receive the 2004 Iowa Business Role Model Award in recognition of both offices efforts to battle drug traffickers.
This year's theme is "Take a Stand - Be Drug-free." Enforcement alone will not stop the sale or use of drugs. We need your help in educating our children on the best way to resist peer pressure. Involved parents are our best defense against substance abuse. Use the annual Red Ribbon Week campaign as a catalyst to have a family discussion about drugs or alcohol.