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Pubdate: Wed, 22 Apr 1998 Source: Vancouver Province (Canada) Contact: http://www.vancouverprovince.com/ DEFIANT COP SAYS CALL OFF WAR ON DRUGS Constable Speaks Out Despite Risk Of Disciplinary Action Holly Horwood, Staff Reporter The Province An outspoken Vancouver police constable has defied efforts by police Chief Bruce Chambers to muzzle him on drug decriminalization. Const. Gil Puder, a 16-year police veteran who fatally shot a drug-addicted bank robber in 1984, risks disciplinary action after he presented a paper on drug-policy reform at a Vancouver conference yesterday. "He was told verbally and in writing not to present the paper," Chambers told The Province. "He doesn't represent the police department, and his paper, in my opinion, doesn't represent the views of the police department." Puder, an instructor at the B.C. Police Academy and Justice Institute of B.C., has spoken out before. But his speech to 140 delegates at the forum, organized by the Fraser Institute think-tank, was the hardest-hitting yet. Called Recovering Our Honor: Why Policing Must Reject the "War on Drugs," the paper is critical of what Puder calls "warrior-savior" officers and an "entrenched police culture." "Research long ago identified aggressive enforcement and a game-like atmosphere as features of drug policing, which make it an attractive field of endeavor," said Puder, who told reporters he spoke as an individual. "What better way to build your image than with a 'bad guy' in jail and drug exhibits or some recovered property as your visible evidence of success? "Although we relish the prestige of this role, deified police officers confronting demonized drug users is a recipe for abuse." In his speech -- which was taped by a Vancouver police inspector -Puder called drug-prohibition laws "history's most expensive failed social experiment." It's time to legalize marijuana and replicate Switzerland's decriminalization trials for heroin and other opiates, he said, echoing other speakers at the conference. "Which control methodology would prove least harmful to society is, of course, open to informed speculation. What we've spent billions of dollars and countless lives proving, however, is that criminal prohibition isn't it."