Re: "Assets being taken unjustly - Forfeiture laws give states free
hand to seize property of individuals simply on suspicion, say Laura
and John Arnold," Tuesday Viewpoints.
As a retired Michigan police detective, I am keenly aware of my
profession's desire to "police for profit." As a property room
officer, I handled the cash coming in and the sale of mostly $2,000
cars my colleagues seized. Our local prosecutor received 10 percent
of all money seized in the county, ensuring political support. How
does this work?
[continues 104 words]
Tsunamis of drugs have rolled into and around Maryland since the
1960s. As a retired detective, I worked the trenches of our drug war.
Polls show 80 percent of the people recognize the total failure of policy.
Indeed, the police are a mosquito on the butt of an elephant. We have
never, ever been able to make more than a dent in drug availability.
Attorney General Brian Frosh needs to come clean to Maryland
residents and admit that heroin prohibition is more the cause of
deaths than a way to reduce them ("Maryland joins multistate task
force to combat heroin," Feb. 12).
Howard J. Wooldridge, Buckeystown
The writer, a retired police detective, is co-founder of Law
Enforcement Against Prohibition.
Speaking as a retired detective, I heartily agree with Dan Rodricks'
observation that Maryland police officers want - a little too much -
to maintain marijuana prohibition ("The social fears behind the pot
wars," Feb. 27). Based on my 17 years of involvement in reform, the
last eight on Capitol Hill as a lobbyist and advocate, my profession
has three reasons to keep marijuana illegal: money, money and emotion.
Police make lots of money in the easy overtime for the minor bust and
drug squads and receive lots of "free" money from the federal and
state governments to chase a green plant. Civil asset forfeiture is
an important and growing factor in police budgets. Drug cases
actually bring money into the department, whereas arresting a
pedophile is a drain on the budget.
[continues 67 words]
As a retired detective, I support moving simple possession of
marijuana down to a parking ticket-level offense ("Zirkin, Kittleman
propose decriminalizing marijuana Jan. 21).
My active-duty colleagues will have more time for pedophiles, the
deadly drunk driver and other public safety threats. Most police
officers did not sign on for the job to chase a green plant.
Howard J. Wooldridge, Adamstown
Regarding Wednesday's article "Heroin abuse, deaths on the rise," as a
retired police officer, I am familiar with drug overdose and death.
As a traveler, I have met with doctors and officials in Switzerland to
see first-hand the success of their method of handling heroin.
Since 1994 they have treated heroin use as a medical issue and have
been rewarded with dramatic decreases in crime, and no one in the
program has died of an overdose in 16 years. This model has been
adopted by Germany, Denmark and Holland because it works.
[continues 69 words]
As a retired police detective, I heartily agree with the proponents
cited in community columnist John Ridley's Dec. 21 column that we
should legalize, regulate and tax marijuana. My street experience
showed that marijuana, though certainly no play toy of a drug, is
much, much safer than alcohol for both the user and those around him.
My profession - the thin blue line - is getting much thinner all
across Wisconsin. Do you want us to keep wasting time on a green
plant? We are missing child predators even now.
As a retired police officer, I heartily agree with PG columnist Tony
Norman ("Legalized Pot? Like Getting Bonged in the Head," July 13)
that marijuana should be treated like alcohol, i.e., legal, regulated
My profession will arrest more deadly DUIs and more child molesters
when we stop arresting 800,000 marijuana users and suppliers each
year. The police can once again focus on our original mission: public
As a street cop who worked the trenches of the drug war spanning three
decades, I heartily agree with the observations of Sutton Stokes ("Is
marijuana legalization finally on the march in the U.S.?" Communities,
Tuesday). The prohibition of marijuana and the subsequent arrest of
800,000 citizens, mostly for personal use, means less time for deadly
DUI offenders. When detectives are flying around in helicopters trying
to find green plants, they are missing the pedophiles who are in the
Internet chat rooms making contact with our young teens. We have all
seen NBC's "To Catch a Predator." Police labs are not opening 400,000
rape kits and putting the DNA in the computer because proving the
green stuff is marijuana is more of a priority.
[continues 54 words]
During my 18 years of police service I was sent to zero calls
generated by the use of cannabis. Though it is no play toy, cannabis
is not worthy of police time. Every hour my colleagues in New Zealand
spend chasing the non-violent, non-problem cannabis user means less
time for the deadly DUI (drink driver) and those who hurt our women
The obvious solution to cannabis is to treat it like alcohol. The
police have much more important tasks.
As a retired police detective, I certainly agree with Richard Moter's
thoughtful letter ["Legalization of marijuana is no joke," Feb. 12].
Every hour we chase the Michael Phelpses and the Willie Nelsons of the
Commonwealth, we have less time for the deadly reckless and DUI
drivers, and less time for catching child molesters and other public
My profession needs to return to its original purpose: public
If you have a problem with marijuana, alcohol, or cigarettes, see a
doctor for treatment. The Thin Blue Line has much more important tasks.
As a student of history, I know that the arrest and incarceration of
Miguel Caro-Quintero simply opened a job opportunity which has already
been filled. The criminal justice system will grind away and
eventually catch his replacement. The Post will have another big
headline and law enforcement will crow about catching another big
fish. See me snoozing here.
We have seen these headlines for forty years! The real victim here is
the taxpayer who will chunk out 17 years times $35,000 to keep
Caro-Quintero locked up. If Colorado really want to punish drug
dealers and watch them cry, legalize, regulate and tax marijuana.
Howard Wooldridge, Golden
As a Michigan police officer who fought in the trenches of the Drug
War, I can only add this to the observations of Shayne Morrow: namely,
public safety in Canada is significantly reduced by this Modern
Every hour RCMP members chase cannabis and other drugs, they have less
time for the deadly DUI, the child molesters and other public safety
threats. Drug gangs cause significant violent crime, reducing the time
to chase regular bad guys.
Recently, Mexico took the bold and enlightened step to decriminalize
personal amounts of all drugs. The Obama administration sent the
signal that any country in this hemisphere is now allowed to set its
own approach to drugs. Canada, what are you waiting for?
Increasing public safety is another excellent reason to legalize
marijuana. During my 18 years as a police officer I was dispatched to
zero calls generated by the use of marijuana. My profession could
arrest a lot more deadly DUIs and child predators, if we stopped
chasing soccer moms and others smoking pot.
It's obvious to this 18-year police veteran who fought in the trenches
of the drug war that Trib columnist and rock musician Ted Nugent never
did ["We could be winning the war on drugs," June 12]. Moreover, he
must not know the good guys have arrested 39 million citizens on drug
Despite that and the largest prison system in the world, drugs are
cheaper, stronger and easier for our kids to buy. Can Mr. Nugent spell
prohibition? And is he credible when he says this nation has not been
serious enough or diligent enough?
[continues 127 words]
Regarding "Group seeks drug legalization in Oklahoma" (news feature,
June 15): From my perspective of 18 years a police officer (now
retired), I know that drug prohibition decreases public safety and
increases crime. As a detective, 70 percent of my felony caseload was
associated with drug prohibition. Legal cocaine that would cost $2 to
$3 per day for an addict now costs $200 a day.
Thus, an addict must break into your home or steal your car or
identity to pay for it. When a drug dealer shoots another dealer, the
police have less time to find rapists. At the federal level, drug
prohibition provides the majority of the money used by Islamic
terrorists. Our modern form of prohibition is funding our mortal enemies.
Mark Woodward of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs
seems ready to go back to the days of alcohol prohibition. Great: a
moonshine still next to every meth lab!
Howard Wooldridge, Dallas, Texas
Re: Victoria's top cop vows to catch drug dealers (News, May 22)
With all due respect to my colleague, Chief Jamie Graham, he knows it
is not drugs and violence that go together, rather drug trade and violence.
We know that every drug dealer ever arrested or shot is replaced very
quickly. The only net effect of a drug bust is the taxpayers must
build another prison bed.
The only thing that strikes terror into the hearts of drug dealers is
one word: legalization.
Howard J. Wooldridge
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
As a retired Michigan street cop, I can add only one element to
Rhonda Swan's excellent analysis of marijuana prohibition; namely
that public safety is reduced because of the prohibition.
My profession spends literally millions of hours chasing the Michael
Phelpses of the world and their suppliers. Every such hour spent
means less time for the deadly DUI, the rapist, the child molester,
the people flying airplanes into buildings.
Moreover, I know that the state, through its police force, cannot
stop personal stupidity done in the privacy of one's home. Only
family and friends can stop such behavior. My profession must return
to its original task: public safety.
HOWARD WOOLDRIDGE, education specialist
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition
Drug Enforcement Administration spokesman Garrison Courtney said the
arrest of 755 people last week made a "dent" in the drug trade
("100,000 foot soldiers in cartels," Page 1, Tuesday). As a Michigan
police officer for 18 years, I too made a "dent" from time to time. Of
course, all of us in law enforcement know that the dent is repaired
within a few days as new drug dealers and mules take the place of
those arrested or shot. This process has been going on for about 40
[continues 114 words]
As a retired police detective, I heartily agree with Katherine
Heerbrandt's Feb. 9 column, "Smoke signals." During my 18 years of
service, I was sent to zero calls generated by the use of marijuana.
Its prohibition caused several shootings, as dealers shot other
dealers for the money and the green stuff. I never handled a call
where a beer distributor had a gunfight with a whiskey salesman.
The only aspect that was not mentioned was the tremendous reduction in
public safety. As officers and deputies in Frederick spend thousands
of hours finding and arresting for marijuana, they have less time for
the deadly DUI, child predators and other public safety threats.
If you have a drug problem one day, see a doctor. The police have much
more important tasks.
Howard J Wooldridge
As a retired police detective and student of history, I believe the
only way to "clean up" Orchard Mews of the violence associated with
the drug trade is to end the prohibition of drugs ("Two sides of the
street, but one problem bedeviling both," Jan. 25).
After 40 years of drug war, we still have large parts of Baltimore and
many other major cities in America that are more dangerous than the
streets in Iraq. This madness of prohibition has not produced one
positive outcome. So why are we still on this failed road?
The writer is a retired police officer and an education specialist for
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition