Red Ribbon Week; an Opportunity

National-Red-Ribbon-LogoThis week law enforcement organizations, officers and many others across Kansas are participating in Red Ribbon Week activities. Red Ribbon Week serves as a vehicle for communities and individuals to take a stand for the hopes and dreams of our children through a commitment to drug prevention, education and a personal commitment to live drug free lives with the ultimate goal being creation of a drug free America.

Red Ribbon Week also commemorates the ultimate sacrifice made by DEA Special Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena, who died at the hands of drug traffickers in 1985 while in Mexico while fighting the battle against illegal drugs to keep our country and children safe. Within weeks of his death, hundreds formed coalitions and pledged to lead drug-free lives to honor the sacrifices made by Camarena and others. These coalitions began to wear red badges of satin, red ribbons, as a symbol and tribute to Camarena’s memory. The Red Ribbon Week campaign emerged from the efforts of these coalitions. Today, Red Ribbon Week is nationally recognized and celebrated, helping to preserve Special Agent Camarena’s memory and to further the cause for which he gave his life and is also a symbol of support for the DEA’s efforts to reduce demand for drugs through prevention and education programs.

 Aly Falck, a 7th grader in Solon, Ohio, created this year’s Red Ribbon Week Theme. Her message of “A Healthy Me is Drug Free” was chosen during a National poster contest.  Ally’s message will be carried across Kansas and the entire United States thanks to her talent and her teacher, Cheryl Holsapfel, who learned about the National Family Partnership’s 2013 Red Ribbon Theme Contest and used it as “teachable moment” to talk to her students about drugs. Cheryl turned the contest into an assignment for all of her students. She saw it as an opportunity to teach real world skills, while infusing the drug prevention message.

As a result, of someone choosing to get involved, Ally’s message will resonate across Kansas and the entire United States this week. Elected officials, law enforcement organizations, officers, public safety officials and many others across Kansas will honor the sacrifices made by Camarena and join with schools, churches, businesses and community organizations to conduct Red Ribbon Week activities. These celebrations will project a strong, unified, positive message that will help everyone take a visible stand towards creating drug free communities.

Through out the week, there will be many celebrations touting positive messages that can be used, not only during Red Ribbon Week but also for ongoing drug, underage drinking and smoking prevention, prom and other prevention campaigns.  These celebrations offer a great opportunity for all Kansans to become involved and make a difference in their communities.  Please take some time to join me and the men and women of the Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office in working to make our community and the entire state of Kansas a little bit safer for everyone.

Thank you!

Herman Jones, Sheriff
Shawnee County Police Department

Sheriff Jones began his law enforcement career while attending Emporia State University working for the campus police department from 1977 to 1981 he then became a police officer with the Emporia Police Department from 1981 to 1982.  From 1982 to 1992 he was a trooper with the Kansas Highway Patrol, he then served as an Instructor of Police at the University of Kansas, Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center from 1992 to 2000.  Sheriff Jones returned to the Kansas Highway Patrol as the Director of Administration from 2000 to 2011.  In 2011 he was appointed Undersheriff of Shawnee County by Sheriff Richard W. Barta. 

Herman T. Jones was selected by the Republican Precinct Committee and was appointed Sheriff of Shawnee County by Governor Brownback April 30, 2012.  He was elected Sheriff in November 2012.

2 thoughts on “Red Ribbon Week; an Opportunity

  1. This is a great blog about the history of the Red Ribbon campaign. It also explains how this years theme “A healthy me is drug free” was developed by a 7th grade girl named Ally. The message is clear that everyone from the young to the old can get involved with Red Ribbon.

  2. Sheriff Jones and all of our other law enforcement officers, that put their lives on the line everyday,7 days a week/24 hours a day, deserve a special “Thank You” along with our respect and support. Red Ribbon Week gives others a special chance to show our support by participating in programs educating our youth and communities on the harm of drugs and ways we can work on prevention.