It’s safe to say that most people currently employed in law enforcement who oppose the drug war won’t speak out for fear of reprisal and career setbacks – or the loss of their livelihood entirely.
One such officer has started writing a blog for the group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. His first piece is posted now and it details why he felt the need to begin speaking out, even if it is behind the shield of anonymity.
For those of us in law enforcement, we are quite sensitive and aware as to the consequences of publicly joining LEAP. For those not in law enforcement, a further explanation is in order. Allow me to describe why active duty cops generally do not speak out publicly regarding the harm from drug prohibition, even when they know it is wrong. Let us begin with the viewpoint of your average person in law enforcement.
We are scared that in “rocking the boat” and speaking out:
1) We will be terminated and lose everything.
2) We will get passed over for promotion, lose the position that we currently hold, or fail to be transferred to more desirable assignments within our agency.
3) Fellow officers and supervisors will blacklist us for appearing “weak” or “soft on crime”.
These are the everyday real-life reasons why I have not gone public, and why I believe active duty members of law enforcement usually remain silent about the 800 lb. “drug war” gorilla in the room.
The anonymous officer also says that the “we don’t make the laws, we just enforce them” mentality that was pounded into his head from day 1 is another reason many officers toe the government line on drug policy.
So what does this have to do with cops, myself included, failing to speak out publicly against the drug war? Because we are trained from day one to detach ourselves from the emotional aspect of the law, to simply enforce the law. In other words, we are not supposed to have an opinion on whether a law is good or bad. We are supposed to be robot drones, albeit with some discretion, and enforce the law whether we like the law or not. It is this mentality that is pervasive among the men and women in law enforcement. It is this mentality that has grown another branch on the tree of silence regarding our failed drug laws.
Hopefully this blog series will encourage other officers to speak out, even if it is anonymously. When information is spread it increases its power to influence.
In the end, it is officers like this one who are on the front lines. and take the brunt of the violence associated with this country’s failed drug policies. If anyone has the right to speak out on these matters, it is them.
And be sure to check out our Open Letter on Behalf of 30 Million Cannabis Users and join us in our fight!