Richmond, Virginia Police Chief Calls for New Drug Policies 10/27/00

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In a Sunday op-ed in the Richmond Times Dispatch, Richmond Police Chief Jerry Oliver joined the growing chorus of drug war critics in law enforcement.

His piece, entitled "Police Pay Too: Nation's War on Drugs Exacts a Terrible Price," explored how attempts to enforce laws against consensual activities, such as drug buying and selling, are damaging law enforcement.

Oliver pointed out that law enforcers put "our credibility at risk when police stoop to snooping on fellow Americans over drugs."

Writing that current drug policy "is failing and the trajectory continues downward," Oliver bemoaned the billions spent on drug law enforcement. "These billions might be better spent on demand reduction, prevention, treatment, education, community-building, and supporting families," he wrote.

The Richmond police chief also denounced the "business" of drug crime incarceration, and made a clarion call for the adoption of a harm reduction approach to drug policy.

The op-ed is well worth reading in its entirety, both as a well-written and heartfelt cry for change, and as an article documenting the attitudinal shifts afoot in the land, now reaching the upper ranks of law enforcement. Visit http://www.timesdispatch.com/editorial/oped/MGBLC2FGKEC.html to read Chief Oliver's op-ed online.

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