An Officer’s journey through the drug war

In both agencies [Marines & Police], I was highly praised, awarded, and promoted very quickly, always the youngest everywhere I went. I was the youngest Sergeant in FAST, youngest detective in major case narcotics and youngest Sergeant in BPD. I’ve completed over 300 training courses with collegiate credit, innumerable others training events, and I earned my B.S. in Criminal Justice while working. This is how obsessed I was at being the consummate professional.

As I have learned more and reflected on the realities of the war on drugs, I am increasing angered by how these policies have placed police in a persistently adversarial position with the community which they are supposed to serve. This adversarial position breeds fear and strengthens the blue wall of silence, further separating police from their communities. At best, officers are forced to navigate an ethical minefield of protect and serve while engaging in a war. All too often, first responders are injured and killed while fighting the War on Drugs. Law enforcement officers are effectively become sheep, set out to pasture in a failed ideology … For many reasons which should have been obvious to us, we simply cannot have a war on our citizens and expect that cooperation will ensue. That divide which is created when we have a War on People and takes a tremendous toll on the efficacy of police work … It’s education and regulation that successfully reduces usage, not criminal enforcement. It seems evident that a large amount of success lies in education because if heroin were available on Amazon right now, I would not be ordering any to shoot up this afternoon and I don’t think many of you would either. That is because we know better, we’ve been educated … Eventually, it became quite clear to me that the war on drugs was harming our society, wasting resources, and ruining the honor in the profession of policing. I had been educated, and now that I know better, I owe to the make amends for the harm that I did, to teach others and help stop this war on our streets. ​

Original Article (Medium):
An Officer’s journey through the drug war
Artwork Fair Use: Tommy Gao

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