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by Peter Moskos

October 6, 2009

Personally Dissed by the Drug Czar

And by the President of the International Association of Chiefs of Police! Mr. Kerlinkowske, Mr Laine, nice to meet you.

At an October 3rd address at the 2009 International Association of Chiefs of Police Annual Conference, Czar Kerlikowske said (via stop the drug war):
But I must underscore how important your help on this issue is – on the streets, within the criminal justice system, and in the court of public opinion. Recently, Peter Moskos and Stanford Franklin, members of a group called "Law Enforcement Against Prohibition," published an op-ed in the Washington Post calling for the legalization of drugs. They claimed that legalization would increase officer safety.

Chief Laine, as President of IACP, responded with a letter to the editor. The Washington Post did not print it. This letter, which I am holding in my hand, should have been printed. As Russ appropriately put it, "The simple truth is that legalizing narcotics will not make life better for our citizens, ease the level of crime and violence in our communities or reduce the threat faced by law enforcement officers. To suggest otherwise ignores reality."
From the Crime Report:
Kerlikowske criticized the Washington Post for not publishing a letter from IACP President Russell Laine in rebuttal to an op-ed article the newspaper had run asserting that drug legalization would make police officers safer. ... "We have to be smarter about drugs, which doesn’t mean softer or weaker."
Smarter? Is that the answer? Because the people that have been fighting the war on drugs for the past century have been... er, stupid? In the letter, Mr. Laine says we ignore reality and calls us "repulsive" for linking the war on drugs to officers' safety. No time to "retreat," he says. "It is not time to legalize drugs; it is time to get them off our streets."

I'd love to hear his plan to get drugs off our streets.

I bet it won't work.

Nor does Mr. Laine explain how regulating and controlling drug distribution would increase availability and use.

Mr. Laine is police chief of Algonquin, Illinois, a little rich white boom exurb outside of Chicago. Between 1999 and 2007 there was one homicide in Algonquin. One. In nine years. I'm just sayin'.... Mr. Laine and the 50 officers under his command must be doing a very good job.

You can read our op-ed in the Washington Post, the one that started this whole kerfuffle, here.


Marc S. said...

Just a bunch of weak correlations and no solid argument.

David Bratzer said...

His letter to the editor was over 600 words long. I don't think a lot of newspapers will publish letters that long, no matter who you are. He might have had better luck if he wrote it in an op-ed format.

Anonymous said...

To Chief Laine's credit, he was write about one thing:

"There is a reason why every major law enforcement organization opposes efforts at drug legalization or decriminalization."

He's just confused about what that reason is: MONEY