Red Ribbon Week

The Red Ribbon Campaign was started when drug traffickers in Mexico City murdered DEA agent Kiki Camarena in 1985. This began the continuing tradition of displaying Red Ribbons as a symbol of intolerance towards the use of drugs. The mission of the Red Ribbon Campaign is to present a unified and visible commitment towards the creation of a DRUG-FREE AMERICA. Red Ribbon Week is always held October 24-31. The idea being to wrap around a weekend where awareness can continue at weekend school events and other community events such as church.

In Rutherford County, we began celebrating Red Ribbon Week in 1993 in our schools as a way to help drive home the point of drug education. This is a 7 day period of time to teach classes and hold drug-free events such as school dances.

Our SRO’s hold competitions in their schools such as door decorations and essay contests and the SRO’s even participate in a little competition among themselves. There is a trophy that is given each year to the school that shows the most spirit during Red Ribbon. Our officers also hold a canned food drive as well.

 The Story Behind the Symbol

Enrique "Kiki" Camarena grew up in a dirt-floored house with hopes and dreams of making a difference.

Camarena worked his way through college, served in the Marines and became a police officer. When he decided to join the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, his mother tried to talk him out of it. "I can't not do this," he told her. "I'm only one person, but I want to make a difference."

The DEA sent Camarena to work undercover in Mexico investigating a major drug cartel believed to include officers in the Mexican army, police and government. On Feb. 7 , 1985, the 37-year-old Camarena left his office to meet his wife for lunch. Five men appeared at the agent's side and shoved him in a car. One month later, Camarena's body was found in a shallow grave. He had been tortured to death.

In honor of Camarena's memory and his battle against illegal drugs, friends and neighbors began to wear red badges of satin. Parents, sick of the destruction of alcohol and other drugs, had begun forming coalitions. Some of these new coalitions took Camarena as their model and embraced his belief that one person can make a difference. These coalitions also adopted the symbol of Camarena's memory, the red ribbon.

The National Family Partnership organized the first Nationwide Red Ribbon Campaign in 1988. Since that time, the campaign has reached millions of U.S. children.

In 1997, the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse began committing resources to ensure the continuation of the Red Ribbon Campaign in Texas, as well as the hopes and beliefs behind this grassroots effort to protect children from the dangers of alcohol and other drugs.

 Canned Food Drive

The Fall of each year is traditionally the time to give thanks for all that we have received. Unfortunately there are families within this county who have a difficult time putting food on the table. Each Fall the SRO’s sponsor a canned food drive to assist these families. The SRO’s encourage students at their individual schools to participate in the event. All the food items donated go directly to needy families in Rutherford County. The SRO Division has been doing this for 11 years now, and thankfully it has grown each year. In the Fall of 2008, the SRO’s collected over 50,000 food items for those in need.

If you would like to join our effort to feed those in need, please contact the SRO Division.

 Toy Drive

Imagine a child waking up Christmas morning and having no gift to open. Imagine the anguish of a parent who has fallen on hard times and can’t afford to buy presents for their child. Each year the SRO’s sponsor a toy drive to help those in need. The SRO’s encourage the students at the schools to participate in the toy drive. This accomplishes two goals. Toys are collected for those in need and the students learn the gift of giving. In December of 2007 (our 10th year for the toy drive), the SRO’s collected over 2000 toys. All the toys went to children in Rutherford County. If you would like to assist us in giving the children of this community some Christmas cheer, please contact the SRO Division.

 May Day Ride

The annual S.R.O. May Day Ride is a motorcycle ride that the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office School Resource Officer Division sponsors every year to help fund different youth programs for the students in the Rutherford County School System.