Pubdate: Tue, 14 Aug 2001
Source: Daily Gazette (NY)
Copyright: 2001 The Gazette Newspapers
Author: William Aiken
Bookmark: (Corruption)


In Carl Strock's Aug. 2 column "Sch'dy cops: bad apples or bad 
culture?" he points the blame at the police as the problem for the 
ongoing scandal in the Schenectady Police Department without 
mentioning the drug prohibition policies and the role they have 
played in this fiasco. (Two police officers convicted and others 

Before the war on drugs, our police weren't being seduced into 
committing crimes involving drugs. Similar problems with police 
corruption plagued the nation in the 1920s and '30s with alcohol 
Prohibition. Our drug policies have intoxicated the police with a 
sense of power that corrupts the moral fabric in which they operate 
in our communities.

This incident isn't the first time illicit drugs have turned good 
cops into bad apples and it won't be the last. The notion of having a 
"drug-free America" is a farce. Drugs are here to stay. The best this 
country can do is find a way to co-exist with drugs in a way that is 
least harmful to everyone involved.

We have the strictest laws in the country, which were supposed to 
serve as a deterrent to "using." All that Draconian approach has 
gotten us is a prison population that's exploding out of control, 
with 25 percent of inmates doing time for drug charges. None of these 
crimes is violent. No one was assaulted. No one's property was 
destroyed. And the law hasn't succeeded in stopping people from 
getting high.

This latest incident involving the Schenectady police is just another 
symptom in the failure of the war on drugs. I was surprised Mr. 
Strock didn't see the connection.

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