Which Cops Would You Pick for Your Town?

Which Cops Would You Pick for Your Town?
Posted by CN Staff on June 25, 2004 at 10:07:27 PT
By David Borden, AlterNet
Source: AlterNet
Most law enforcement leaders support the drug war while the public overwhelmingly rejects it. One of the stranger aspects of the drug debate in America is the disconnect between the people at large and those involved in legislating or executing the war on drugs. An annual survey of police chiefs and sheriffs, for example, recently found that only 40 percent of them favor legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes, as opposed to the 70-80 percent of public support shown by recent polls. Advocates are disappointed that a solid majority of America's law enforcement leaders favor the criminalization, and resulting arrests and prosecutions, of patients for medical marijuana use.
Another disappointing attitude is that of New Jersey's top law enforcement office. After Atlantic City officials announced plans to open a city-run needle exchange program, citing state law allowing them to do so, NJ attorney general Peter Harvey came out with a statement that law does not allow it -- but not explaining why the law cited in support of the proposal did not apply. This week a spokesman for Harvey revealed an ideological preference rather than the previous legal interpretation, saying "Our office has serious concerns about any policy or practice which facilitates or encourages drug use." This despite overwhelming evidence that needle exchange does not have that effect and that laws prohibiting syringe distribution and possession, and enforcement of those laws, have cost the lives of massive numbers of New Jerseyans and others. The contrast with police of some nations in Europe is very striking. Preparing for an influx of soccer fans from around the continent, and knowing the reputation of some (mainly British) fans to be rowdy, police in Lisbon, Portugal, have promised to turn a blind eye to open marijuana use. The nation has already decriminalized drug use and possession, but smoking in public is still illegal. For purely pragmatic reasons, they have decided to use their discretion to allow it. As a police spokeswoman told the British newspaper The Guardian (perhaps hoping to get the message to the infamous soccer hooligans in advance), "If you are quietly smoking and a police officer is 10 meters away, what's the big risk in your behavior? I'm not going to tap you on the shoulder and ask 'What are you smoking?' if you are posing no menace to others. Our priority is alcohol." In Switzerland, the police aren't satisfied with discretion and decriminalization. Following a narrow vote by the Swiss Parliament to pass a bill, already approved by the Senate, to legalize marijuana outright, police officials were among the voices publicly expressing their disappointment. Which police would you rather have for your state and community? Though we are frequently critical of police practices, I'm not someone who claims that cops as a rule are bad; and I recognize the risks to life and limb to which police officers subject themselves on a regular basis to protect members of the public, and which sometimes cost them their lives. We need to remember that. Still, I have no reason to believe that police in Portugal or Switzerland are any less willing to step into harm's way when situations call for them to do so. No disrespect is intended here for America's men and women in blue. But given the more enlightened attitudes toward drug policy of police in parts of Western Europe -- which in my opinion make their countries not only more just but also more safe -- I guess that overall I would pick their cops over our cops if I had the choice. The news is not all bad. Though it is disappointing that 60 percent of chiefs and sheriffs oppose medical marijuana, 40 percent is a large number and an encouraging sign among a notably enforcement-oriented group of people. And the same survey also found that nearly 70 percent of them recognize that decriminalization of possession would free up resources to fight serious crime. So I haven't given up on them yet, either. Perhaps our friends at Law Enforcement Against Prohibition -- -- will help America's cops catch up with their counterparts across the ocean. David Borden is executive director of DRCnet. -- kaptinemoSource: AlterNet (US)Author: David Borden, AlterNetPublished: June 23, 2004Copyright: 2004 Independent Media InstituteContact: letters Website: Police Archives
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on June 30, 2004 at 07:44:33 PT
Alternet: June 29, 2004 - Like a Rock
New York's maligned Rockefeller drug policies live to see another day as the move to reform them stutters yet again. Despite protestations from all of New York's key political actors that they are determined to reform the state's draconian Rockefeller drug laws, another legislative session ended this week with the laws unchanged. Last minute negotiations over "reforms" that were only marginally acceptable to real reformers faltered after a last-minute intervention by Republican Gov. George Pataki. Legislators will have to return to Albany for a special summer session to deal with the state budget and other issues, so there is a slim chance lawmakers could cut a deal then, but it appears unlikely. And given the deal state Assembly leader Rep. Sheldon Silver (D), state Senate leader Joseph Bruno (R) and Pataki were pursuing, reformers are not spilling too many tears over its collapse.Under the Rockefeller drug laws, in place since the early 1970s, people caught in possession of as little as four ounces or selling as little as two ounces of a controlled substance get mandatory minimum 15-to-life sentences, while other drug offenders earn similarly harsh treatment. As a result, the state's prison population has swollen, primarily with black or brown offenders. Drug prisoners now make up 38 percent of the prison system -- nearly twice the national average -- and a staggering 93 percent of them are Latinos and African-Americans. Many are housed in prisons in conservative, lily-white upstate counties where the Rockefeller drug laws serve as an effective jobs program for prison guards.Complete Article:
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Comment #10 posted by gloovins on June 25, 2004 at 13:59:00 PT
No brainer............
"Most law enforcement leaders support the drug war while the public overwhelmingly rejects it."Want to know why?Job security and justification of exsistance.Next question, please.
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Comment #9 posted by billos on June 25, 2004 at 13:37:25 PT
Richard Paul Zuckerm..................
Who are YOU!I am very receptive to your opinions. I concur with most.
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Comment #8 posted by Richard Paul Zuckerm on June 25, 2004 at 12:04:45 PT:
Would you be willing to render your opinion of my lawsuit against the Highland Park Public Library,, policy of a 3 minute time limit on the public pay telephone, even when nobody is waiting to use the phone?Do you consider this policy as reasonable, Kaptinemo?What about the actions of the Highland Park Police Department in arresting me because I refused to produce identification to them, and FABRICATING a "disorderly conduct" charge against me? [For purposes of this question, the recently rendered U.S. Supreme Court case of Hiibel v. Sixth Judicial District Court of Nevada,,, does not apply, because New Jersey laws do not specifically require us to produce I.D.]?What is your opinion of this arrest, Kaptinemo?
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Comment #7 posted by Dankhank on June 25, 2004 at 11:58:21 PT
send this ...
I copy/paste much from here, including this ...I have the email address of the local police chief, will get the sherrif's and others then sending them interesting tidbits, starting with this one ...
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Comment #6 posted by kaptinemo on June 25, 2004 at 11:43:54 PT:
A very dangerous 'culture'
Everyone acknowledges that there exist subcultures within the expanded one that is America. The fact is that *most* of you who are reading this are cannabists comprising a surprisingly widely varied subculture with a population in the scores of millions.(Of course, we know the opposition is here as well, gleaning what they can from the articles and postings, but fearful of ever posting anything FROM this and other sites lest they seem tendering respect for them, which is why there are no links to our sites on their pathetically undervisited webpages.)The average cannabist poses little or no threat to the workings of government or public safety - yet are hounded as if they were real life Draculas. But, needless to say, some subcultures DO pose far more of a risk to civil libertes than others ever possibly could. The subculture represented by police who refuse to adhere to the laws regarding medicinal cannabis in the respective States and localities that honor such laws are a perfect example. For this is where true disrespect for law breeds...with the contempt of the law enforcers for the law itself.Which, ultimately means contempt for the democratic process which created those laws. When police stand in contempt of democracy, the Abyss awaits.
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Comment #5 posted by BigDawg on June 25, 2004 at 11:30:30 PT
I cannot argue your point.My re-wording is the way I see it... but is not exactly the best way to change a persons mind... which is the the prefered outcome.It is probably a good thing my version is preaching to the choir. (sheepish grin)
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Comment #4 posted by Richard Paul Zuckerm on June 25, 2004 at 11:03:59 PT:
My understanding of the history of the police in this country is that they began as private mercenaries for the superwealthy industrialists to stop the laborers from holding labor strikes.After alcohol prohibition was repealed by a federal constitutional amendment, the employment opportunities for law enforcement personnel opened up again thru Marihuana law enforcement. Remember Harry Anslinger and his "Reefer Madness"?The United States Central Intelligence Agency launders over $600 Billion per year of drug money thru Wall Street, according to [], while otherwise law abiding Americans are targeted for drug law enforcement!! Is this the most despicable hypocrisy you have ever heard of?These "educated" Americans continue to vote for the oppressors, though, Republicans and Democrats! Bush and Kerry are both members of "Skull and Bones". Kerry's wife is the daughter of a prominent "New World Order" zealot, too. My choice will be Ralph Nader or the Libertarian Party candidates!I am suing the Highland Park Police Department,, after they arrested me for refusal to produce identification and FABRICATING a "disorderly conduct" charge. I'm suing them for state constitutional tort Retaliation and FRAUD, going for a HUGE PUNITIVE DAMAGES verdict by a JURY! Too many Americans are under the mistaken impression that voting for more policemen, coupled with more stringent gun control laws, serves to provide more security for the citizens. WRONG!! Republicans and Democrats want you people to be DEPENDENT upon them, empowering them even more! As long as you people go along to get along, voting for "the lesser of two evils", or not voting at all, you will suffer more and more! Look at our economy! Look at our state of our liberties? You people are being DUPED into voting for BIG GOVERNMENT, massive immigration [The 9/11 terrorists and those two blacks who shot up Washington D.C. were illegal immigrants!], wars, which are ruining our environment, our freedoms, our economy, and keeping us dumb from the truth of the United States Government's complicity in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing, and the 9/11/01 airplane crashes [AND THE BOMBS PLANTED IN THE WORLD TRADE CENTER BUILDINGS TO AMPLIFY DESTRUCTION OF THESE BUILDINGS]!! Can't you people see that the Republicans and Democrats do not care about you! All they care about is their own economic interests. This is why Congress has their own retirement plan! They don't participate in Social Security! Ted Turner, of CNN, was so correct: "Americans are the dumbest people in the world!" Paul Zuckerman, Box 159, Metuchen, New Jersey, 08840-0159, (Cell telephone number)(908) 403-6990, richardzuckerman2002 
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Comment #3 posted by E_Johnson on June 25, 2004 at 10:49:30 PT
Basic fact vs. derived judgment
BigDawg, it is a judgment that they are corrupted by power. I believe it is a correct judgment, but in order to have influence as a writer, the best thing to do is to present the facts and allow the reader to supply the judgment. Otherwise it's too manipulative of the reader and the reader will rebel and just refuse to read any more.
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Comment #2 posted by BigDawg on June 25, 2004 at 10:36:10 PT
Politically correct?
"One of the stranger aspects of the drug debate in America is the disconnect between the people at large and those involved in legislating or executing the war on drugs. An annual survey of police chiefs and sheriffs, for example, recently found that only 40 percent of them favor legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes, as opposed to the 70-80 percent of public support shown by recent polls."This seems just a bit too "PC" in its language. It should read, "One of the stranger aspects of the drug debate in America is the disconnect between the people at large and those corrupted by power."Big difference...
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on June 25, 2004 at 10:29:24 PT
AP: U.N. Says Opium Production Is Rising
June 25, 2004MOSCOW - Worldwide opium production is increasing, driven by a sharp rise in poppy cultivation in Afghanistan, the United Nations said Friday in a report released in Russia, one of the prime routes for Afghan opium and heroin reaching the West.Opium poppy cultivation declined in two major producing countries, Myanmar and Laos, the 2004 World Drug Report said. But Afghanistan has more than made up for the shortfall due to a production increase and a higher yield per acre than in Southeast Asia.Afghanistan was responsible for three-quarters of the world's illegal opium supply, and for a 5 percent increase in the world supply between 2002 and 2003, the report said."We expect even more production in Afghanistan next year," Sandeep Chawla, chief of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, said at a news conference in Vienna, Austria."The international community faces the problems ... of reducing production, providing alternative employment for farmers, and extending the rule of law ... to allow the national government to take control."Overall, the spread of drug abuse was slowing in contrast to the significant growth in the past half-century, the report said. It said that 185 million people - 3 percent of the global population or 4.7 percent of those aged 15-64 - had used drugs at least once in the past 12 months."The epidemic of drug abuse has been contained to 5 percent (of 15-64-year-olds) and that is the long-term success of regulation," Chawla said.The most popular narcotic was marijuana, used by 150 million people at least once a year. Next were synthetic drugs - amphetamine-type stimulants, with 38 million users.Yet the number of users of legal drugs, such as tobacco and alcohol, is much higher and much more damaging, said Antonio Maria Costa, head of the U.N. drug agency, who was in Moscow for a joint release of the report with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. As many as 30 percent of the world's population - or 1.3 billion people - are tobacco smokers and about 5 million die of tobacco-related causes each year.By comparison, about 250,000 people die each year due to drug abuse."In many countries, drug control efforts increasingly limit the harm caused by drugs to a fraction of that caused by licit substances like tobacco and alcohol," Costa said, urging governments to push through prevention and treatment policies.He urged governments and clerical institutions around the world to launch awareness campaigns preventing drug usage.While in Moscow, Costa met with Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Alexy II to discuss holding such campaigns in Russia.Copyright: 2004 Associated Press
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