Q: How Dangerous is Drug Law Enforcement for Police? A: Apparently Not Very

Law enforcement likes to argue that it needs to resort to heavy-handed tactics such as SWAT-style raids and no-knock warrants because drug law enforcement is just so darned dangerous. You know the spiel: "We're outgunned and up against crazed drug dealers, so we need to come on like gangbusters for our own safety." But I'm in the process of reviewing police deaths in the drug war since the beginning of 2008 for a Chronicle article that will appear Friday, and so far, I've only found two officers who were killed in drug raids during this time. I'm using the Officer Down Memorial Page and the National Law Enforcement Memorial data bases and I still have to dig a little deeper into the numbers and the discrepancies between the two, but so far, it doesn't appear that enforcing the nation's drug laws is that dangerous for police. For civilians, it is perhaps a different story. Nobody's keeping a data base of citizens killed by the police, let alone those killed by police enforcing the drug laws, although I have a few ideas on where to come up with some figures, or at least some especially horrendous cases. I'll be looking into that, as well. I'll be talking to as many cops, criminologists, and other interested parties as I can, but at this point, it seems that it is going to be hard to justify the overwhelming use of force typical of police drug raids. As much as they would like to think they are, cops are not US military Special Forces units, and drug law violators are not terrorist fugitives. Look for the story on Friday.
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It's ironic

Many of the largest drug busts do not happen as a result of a SWAT team but often fall in the lap of a highway patrol officer. On the other hand, many drug warrant raids often turn up surprisingly small quantities among the arrested.

psmith's picture

Not exactly "fall in the lap of"

Those Highway Patrol people are trained and looking for dope, pulling people over on pretextual stops ("following too closely" on a deserted highway, "weaving within the lane"), asking for consent to search, and bringing on the drug dogs if consent is not granted. They remind me of vultures. Or highwaymen.

Of Course Not

Considering the drug war is only 'successfully' waged against small time dealers (the easy ones to catch), it's no surprise there isn't a whole lot of actual violent activity toward the police.

Also, if you can find much information on it, you should include pets that have been killed as well as citizens.

quit crying

the exesive force is needed to protect those law enforcement officers who are putting their lives on the line agasnt these drug dealers.one death of a police officer is one to many. i dont really care who else dies from the cost of riding this country of drugs so long as its no one imporent like the police dea and any goverment official.i loathe marijuana users and wish the harshest pentlys on them drug laws need to be way more harsh. i pray for those fallen officers may god bless their souls

You miss the point --

-- more innocent people are being killed and maimed than law enforcement personnel, often over very small, personal use amounts of drugs...think for a minute -- clearly this is not part of a winning strategy. Also:

1) Learn to spell as your lame remarks seem even dumber with all the misspellings.

2) Use this site's resources to learn more about the drug war -- it's quite obvious that you either understand very little about the situation or have poor analytical skills.

3) Post more thoughtful comments as we regular users are used to more intelligent discussions on this site.

Can't wait for the article -- go Phil!

- Pete Jacobs

Drug Cops are Murders

They get off on raiding everyday people. If you have a dog that is the first family Member that will be murdered on their way to you .Then you’re probably next. These so called cops have killed thousands of people most for having a small bag of MJ. All somebody in this country has to do is tell these Drug cops you’re dealing and or growing and here they come with no proof expect somebody’s shady word. Informants will tell drug cops anything so they can get out of their own Jam.

Just think about this.

What happens when some big time dealer decides to ship a box full of drugs to your house for a pick up? Guess what there your drugs now but be ready because the bullets are about to start flying at you. Shoot first ask questions later. Let’s put mom, dad, the kids, and grandma face down on a bloody floor and keep them there for a couple of hours. How about all those college kids caught with a bag of pot. Kiss there funding goodbye and the rest of their life. No good job for you.

Put a face on this war and show the American public how they like there drug war. Most people have no clue how many people in this country have been killed over a little bag of pot

I guess we wouldn’t have these problems today if these cops did their jobs 30 years ago

They bust and kill all the small fish since they can’t catch any big ones.

listen

boo hoo who gives a crap damn it .the police are BETTER THAN YOU AND SHOULD BE RESPECTED CAUSE YOU KNOW THEIR BETTER THAN YOUR LAZY ASS quit smoking and maybe u wont get arrested.my only concern is the people who are out there trying to rid this world of marijuana cuz its evil and horrifing.who cares about others killed in these raids its only the swat police who's lives we should worrie about dont no real all american american give a damn about a pot head with a small baggie of pot getting shot and killed in gunfire cause that was nessary to take that force cause of the dangerous high u get from that stuff.anyone involved with it deserves that to happen to them so lesson learned is what people DONT SMOKE POT

Idiot, I feel for you...

...and truly hope you work out your issues. See the above post "You miss the point --"...the reply to your last ill-conceived post.

psmith's picture

This is satire, right?

Nobody can really be this stupid and malignant, right?

Not sure!

He is a troll. Been hanging around here for a couple of weeks! He, really, seems to have the intelligence of a snail! If it is satire, it is not well thought out, or well expressed. He could at least give us a hint! ; P

Adolescent?

The run-on sentences, bad spelling and syntax remind me of something a D-student teenager in a high school might write.

That would also explain the stupidity and malignant tone.  There is no emotional maturity in the posting, what with its indiscriminate call for death to pot smokers and so forth.

The troll’s interest in blogging about drugs may also signal an unconscious curiosity or desire to take drugs, much like teenagers who harass gays only to grow up to be gay themselves.

Maybe the troll’s father is a narcotics cop and he thinks he’s defending the family honor by posting here.  Certainly, the comment ‘the police are better than you’ typifies the discriminatory attitude some cops maintain toward pot smokers—absent any concern for their health and well being.  Or maybe he obtained his attitude from some arbitrary authoritarian narc and hippy basher.  A linguist would have a more precise idea of this person’s origins, but to me the vernacular looks as if the individual might be residing in some isolated fascist enclave situated in deepest, darkest America.

What a great argument

I changed only what was necessary to adapt this to argue against another commonly used drug. The rest of the text I left intact, because it's hilarious:

boo hoo who gives a crap damn it .the police are BETTER THAN YOU AND SHOULD BE RESPECTED CAUSE YOU KNOW THEIR BETTER THAN YOUR LAZY ASS quit drinking and maybe u wont get arrested.my only concern is the people who are out there trying to rid this world of alcohol cuz its evil and horrifing.who cares about others killed in these raids its only the swat police who's lives we should worrie about dont no real all american american give a damn about a wino with a small bottle of booze getting shot and killed in gunfire cause that was nessary to take that force cause of the dangerous drunk u get from that stuff.anyone involved with it deserves that to happen to them so lesson learned is what people DONT DRINK BOOZE

Malkavian's picture

Nice trolling, but I *kinda* agree

I just think you should take your own medicine and listen to Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP): http://www.leap.cc/

If you consider police officers worthy to listen to, this is where you gotta go listen. Not only are they cops, but most have been working in narcotics and/or very close to the subject matter.

Some people say the law should be followed no matter what. I say that a just law should be followed. Thus, if the law says you can't give medicine to the needy you are under no moral obligation to comply with the law as it is unjust. So ... for the sake of everyone: grow a moral spine, dude.

Some of your links are dead

And some of the articles are so old, the links within them are dead. I'm sure there are more up to date items that we could find.

I'm pro-choice on EVERYTHING!

Obviously you will find...

...that these 'dynamic entry' raids are dangerous for everybody. This type of law enforcement is just domestic terrorism in blue, or more often black/camo. Why this is a preferred tactic is based on the lies of those who call the shots. Why these LEO's do this is because they like to dress-up and play hut,hut,...bang,bang...sheesh. Prohibition is the true gateway to tyranny. Transparent accountabilty to government could put an end to it.

you need to know something imporent

i was raped by a pot head high on marijuana.i tryed it before and it ruined my life my friends and family all lost respect from me and said i'd be better off dead so now becouse of pot i was raped and abandoned and its true its a gateway cause of that pain now i shoot up 3 grams of herion a day it doesnt cure i know but it does numb the hurt that marijuana has caused me

self medicating?

You , obviously, have some real mental problems that you need help for. You should never allow anyone else's actions ruin your life. Keep self medicating and you will end up six feet deep. That is, if any of what was written in the post, has an validity, at all! You could just be a pathological liar, as far as we know!

That is still a sign mental disease, too. Either way, you need to seek, real, counseling and get some help. I would hate for you to die due to an overdose, because of your lack of corrective action. You know, that is the reason most addicts are the way they are. They also have underlying mental problems. That, you have already told us!

Malkavian's picture

I'm sorry, but try to sort the wheat from the chaff

You weren't raped by pot, you were raped by a person and it was his choice to rape you regardless of the fact that pot usually inhibits aggression and not the other way around.

You can't say that pot destroyed anything, because pot doesn't make people do things. That's just like using "the Devil made me do it" as a criminal defence, and as you probably know that doesn't really go down well.

I'm truly sorry you were victimized like this by a criminal (scumbag), but I would respectfully suggest you do not further victimize yourself by convincing yourself that you "are forced" to shoot up that heroin, because the "trauma forced a mental illness upon you" and that "now you've contracted a chronic illness" whether it be the anxiety/depression or the heroin use.

One of the greatest misconceptions is that we as humans lose our free will because of trauma, drugs or whatever other external agent you're appealing to. I'm not trying to belittle the horror that befell you, I'm just trying to suggest the potential for change is there, but that you may make it harder for yourself to come to terms with the experience if you assume the role of Victim.

Since you're already self-medicating I don't think there's any harm done in suggesting you might have something to gain by looking for something like MDMA for a therapeutic session. Heroin will numb the pain or make you able to not give a damn about the pain (that's there). MDMA may, on the contrary, create a safe mental setting where you can therapeutically approach your big problem without freaking out emotionallly. It might help.

pathological troll...

...is more like it. Same grammerical nonsense as in previous comments , you know...a young idiot. Probably been reading some PDFA stuff.

very astute!

Agreed, very much so. Likely a pathological liar! No more uses heroin than I would a guy for sex!

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