Pubdate: Thu, 10 May 2012
Source: Salt Lake Tribune (UT)
Copyright: 2012 The Salt Lake Tribune
Author: Jessica Miller
Bookmark: (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition)


Howard Wooldridge considers himself to be somewhat of a modern-day 
Paul Revere. But while Revere alerted the masses that the British 
were coming, Wooldridge has a much different message - that all drugs 
should be legalized in the United States.

Wooldridge is taking to his saddle - bike saddle, that is - to ride 
across the country to bring awareness to drug prohibition. The former 
law enforcement official traveled through the Ogden and Salt Lake 
City areas Wednesday as he weaved his way from Newport, Ore., to 
Savannah, Ga., spreading the message that he believes the war on 
drugs has been a failure of government policy.

The 60-year-old Texas native spent 18 years as a detective in 
Michigan, working on many drug-related or drug-motivated crimes. He 
said through that time, he realized that if drugs were taxed and 
legalized, many of those crimes would no longer be an issue.

"When I became a detective and saw the massive number of crime 
victims, that's when I switched to an anti-prohibition person," 
Wooldridge said in a phone interview. "Eighty percent of my case 
loads touched crimes with drug prohibition. My sympathy was for the 
crime victims. I knew after years of being a police officer, the 
government cannot fix stupid."

He said that rather than the government punishing drug users, the 
substances should be viewed like alcohol or tobacco, where family and 
friends are tasked to help when a user's actions are harmful or out 
of control. Wooldridge said he has lobbied in Washington, D.C., for 
the last six years as a part of the organization Law Enforcement 
Against Prohibition, which he co-founded. He said its main goal in 
legalizing drugs is to protect children who are often victimized 
because of current drug laws. He said teenagers are often used to 
sell drugs by older dealers because if the teens are caught, they 
don't face the same minimum charges that adults do.

He also said that by legalizing drugs, it will also allow law 
enforcement to focus on other serious crimes that are victimizing 
children in America.

"What really drives me to pedal is that we fly around in helicopters 
[looking for drugs] and we are missing pedophiles," he said. "As a 
detective, I've arrested pedophiles, I know what they do. I know we 
are missing them by going after the local Willie Nelson and Snoop 
Dogg. This is the choice police officers make all over the 
country."This is the second time Wooldridge has traveled across the 
country to raise awareness on the subject. In 2003, he traveled the 
same route, going from Georgia to Oregon, while riding his horse.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom