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Red Ribbon Week

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 joins the DEA in sponsoring the Enrique Camarena award during Red Ribbon Week. 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.

The 2016 award was presented to two deserving recipients:

Over the past year, Cedar Rapids Police Officer Al Fear has developed a robust heroin prevention initiative aimed at educating addicts, health care professionals, educators, students, law enforcement officers, and the general public on the dangers or opioid and heroin abuse.  Officer Fear has organized summits and multiple town hall presentations across the state, and regularly speaks to students about the impact that heroin would have on their lives.  Officer Fear is passionate about preventing the spread of opioid and heroin addiction and making a difference in the lives of addicted individuals. 

In his position as the School Resource Officer for Central Middle School, Waterloo Police Officer Dustin Lindaman has been extremely successful at building positive relationships with students and serves a role model committed to a healthy and positive lifestyle.  Because of the trust that he has with the students, he has the unique opportunity to reach young students at a critical time in their development, emphasizing the detrimental impact that drug abuse has on a student and that student’s family.  He has the ability to encourage students to be their best, and students have responded to such encouragement.  His dedication to Central Middle School has made a difference in the lives of students, families, and staff.

Past award recipients include:
2015:  Iowa City Police Detective Jerry Blomgren
2015:  Iowa City Police Officer David Schwindt
2015:  Cedar Rapids Police Sgt. David Dostal

Federal prosecutors in this office are willing to speak to schools and organizations regarding the hazards of drug abuse.  If you would like someone to speak to your school or organization during Red Ribbon Week, or at any other time, please contact Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin Lightfoot at

Updated December 20, 2016

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