The R.I.D. Red Ribbon Campaign has begun, with representatives of area law enforcement tying the colorful ribbons to the antennas of their patrol cars as a reminder of the dangers of driving under the influence.
R.I.D. - or Remove Intoxicated Drivers - is a national organization formed in 1978 by Doris Aiken. The Florida TV host formed the group when an intoxicated driver killed two teenagers in her community.
Locally, R.I.D. West Tennessee Director Tammy Hipps leads the charge to remove drivers under the influence of drugs and alcohol from the streets of Dyer County. The dedicated Hipps also works to make sure local law enforcement officers are recognized for their contributions to the cause.
On Thursday, Dec. 13, Hipps honored law enforcement personnel, local citizens and community organizations with the Dyer County R.I.D. Red Ribbon Awards. The presentation took place in the city's municipal courtroom.
The 2011/2012 awards and the celebration of the day were held in memory of the late Freeman Dudley, a Dyersburg alderman who passed away two years ago.
"He was a wonderful man, who supported his community and cared about his community, his city and his family," said Dyer County Sheriff Jeff Box. "He was loved by many people."
"On behalf of the Dyersburg City Board, I would like to say Freeman was an example of what it means to serve," Dyersburg Alderman Bob Kirk told those assembled in the courtroom for the awards ceremony. "We are very appreciative this honor is being named in his memory."
Lt. Billy Williams was named Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. The traditional award has been now been renamed the Freeman Dudley Memorial Award. Williams has served the Dyersburg Police Department for 27 years.
"Billy is well deserving of this award," said Dyersburg Police Chief Art Heun. "He is knowledgeable, dependable, dedicated and interested in what he is doing every day. You can count on him to get things done. He is a leader. You can depend on him to get things done -- after hours or whenever they need to be done."
"Billy also works under Capt. (Roger) Dudley, which makes this award that much more special," said Hipps. "This award is well-deserved. He should have been recognized a long time ago."
"I appreciate the nomination and award for Officer of the Year," said Williams. "I knew Mr. Freeman Dudley for many years. He was a personal friend of mine over the years and just an asset to the community. During my (work in the community), I have had several challenges. The profession itself is something I enjoy doing. This award is extra special."
Others honors include:
* Citizenship Award -- Doug Roberson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol
* Leadership Award -- Danny Petrie of the Dyer County Sheriff's Department
* Leadership Award -- 911 Communications and Emergency Operations, accepted by Cathy Cavness
* Leadership Award -- Robert Harrison of the Newbern Police Department
* Outstanding Media Awareness Award -- Vanessa Cain of the State Gazette
"We have the very best police department and sheriff's department in West Tennessee," said Hipps. "I have been all over West Tennessee working with all departments and (these officers) are the best there is. It seems like they are always there when you need them."
After the presentations, the official kickoff of the Dyer County Red Ribbon campaign began with law enforcement personnel tying red ribbons on their car antennas in a reminder of the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Award winners were also treated a special cake, finger foods and punch.
"This has been such a good day," said Hipps, after the event was complete. "I do this for my community and my officers. And I know Freeman is smiling down on us today."