Monday, December 5, 2011

New York Times: Active Duty Cops Face Difficulties Joining LEAP

Over the weekend, the New York Times published a story on the emerging debate within law enforcement about whether we need to end the "war on drugs," and the fact that some officers who support legalization are facing problems on the job.

Stationed in Deming, N.M., [Bryan] Gonzalez was in his green-and-white Border Patrol vehicle just a few feet from the international boundary when he pulled up next to a fellow agent to chat about the frustrations of the job. If marijuana were legalized, Mr. Gonzalez acknowledges saying, the drug-related violence across the border in Mexico would cease. He then brought up an organization called Law Enforcement Against Prohibition that favors ending the war on drugs.

Those remarks, along with others expressing sympathy for illegal immigrants from Mexico, were passed along to the Border Patrol headquarters in Washington. After an investigation, a termination letter arrived that said Mr. Gonzalez held “personal views that were contrary to core characteristics of Border Patrol Agents, which are patriotism, dedication and esprit de corps.”


In Arizona, Joe Miller, a probation officer in Mohave County, near the California border, filed suit last month in Federal District Court after he was dismissed for adding his name to a letter by Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, which is based in Medford, Mass., and known as LEAP, expressing support for the decriminalization of marijuana.


“No one wants to be fired and have to fight for their job in court,” said Neill Franklin, a retired police officer who is LEAP’s executive director. “So most officers are reluctant to sign on board. But we do have some brave souls.”


In the case of Mr. Gonzalez, the fired Border Patrol agent, he had not joined LEAP but had expressed sympathy with the group’s cause. “It didn’t make sense to me why marijuana is illegal,” he said. “To see that thousands of people are dying, some of whom I know, makes you want to look for a change.”

“I don’t want to work at a place that says I can’t think,” said Mr. Gonzalez, who grew up in El Paso, just across the border from Ciudad Ju├írez, which has experienced some of the worst bloodshed in Mexico.

Mr. Franklin, the LEAP official, said it was natural that those on the front lines of enforcing drug laws would have strong views on them, either way. It was the death of a colleague at the hands of a drug dealer in 2000 that prompted Mr. Franklin, a veteran officer, to begin questioning the nation’s drug policies. 

The full story is online here.


  1. removing the "%20" from the end of the URL fixes the link.

  2. Hi jhm, things look fine to me, must have been fixed before I saw this in the AM. In case anyone is interested, %20 is URL-speak for a space. :-)

    With regard to this article, it shows how our government seems so diametrically opposed to itself (which is why we are crashing and will continue to do so).

    On one hand there is the constant chant for critical thinking students and adults who can have “high paying jobs” that require them to analyze, scrutinize, and synthesize. But on the other hand, it seems so much of our government does not want to hire such people. And if a person has any ideas that even hint at running contrary to the Evil Religion of Hate (Prohibition), they are summarily dismissed, and insulted that they are unpatriotic or not abiding by our Constitution.

    I continue to be really angry that people think questioning Prohibition is unconstitutional and unbiblical. Prohibition completely destroys the Constitution and desecrates the Bible.

  3. I am both skeptical and heartened by (somehow) coming across this site.

    Prior to deciding to comment, I read a few different articles and several dozen comment posts. A small bit of info that likely doesn't matter to anyone else but me...

    I find this argument sort of goofy - especially based on what I've learned from others' views - from comment writers to article authors.

    I find the issue a simple one (yet likely not a politically popular one).

    Any/all legislation, regulation, penalties,etc. should be based on human conduct. What should be illegal should be the misuse and/or behavioural harm heightened by one's use/abuse of *any^ substance, not the substance itself - or having the substance (unless in amounts and/or proof of sales to minor children/etc.

    Personally, it is my belief that personal conduct, not some leafy or powdered material - is what should be regulated. It SHOULD be against the law to drive while intoxicated - despite the intoxicant. It SHOULD be illegal to knowingly use a drug to such an extent that a proven health hazard is at issue (I would include tobacco here) IF... *IF* one is a parent or guardian of minor children.

    Drugs - all drugs - should be legal. Inappropriate behavior and/or use that causes harm/potential harm to others - should be regulated. We will get nowhere if we categorize and/or "schedule" drugs - rather than the way humans act when using them. Just my view.

  4. Errata: In my post above, I stated that substances shouldn't be regulated. I said that in error and hope to explain:

    I do believe that consumable/medicinal substances should not be deemed illegal at all, but human behaviour if/when interacting with them... should be (a la DUI laws. Alcohol is legal to buy, own, transport, and with proper permits - sell and/or produce).

    I did not mean to suggest in my previous comment that there should be no regulation *other* than human behaviour - as I presented.

    I believe regulation should be for a legitimate reason, and that reason is safety. Meaning: While I still believe that personal, criminal penalties should be based solely on personal conduct, regulation regarding the production of any drug or medicine to be sold publicly should meet safety and quality standards.

    My position notwithstanding, the most lethal drugs in this country seem to be the legal ones: alcohol and tobacco. While we need to find solutions to alleviating the death tolls for both, it doesn't mean we can't discuss anything else.

    I do believe that legalization (for possession of any substance) and regulation/penalization for misuse of any substance is the way to go.

    And the penalty for substance abuse should be a logical one - rehabilitation, not simple incarceration. The latter being the worst action any authority could do to an addict. Doing so teaches them to be a more harmful addict. LE and prisoners know this.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...