Drug War

Drug Warriors Spend Money Training Cops to Be Able to Argue for the Drug War

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Aaron Malin at the always interesting Show-MeCannabis site has some more great reporting on the feckless and pointless silliness of the police task forces fighting our hopeless and insane war on drugs.

I blogged last month on how Malin found them stonewalling him over petty terminological issues when he tries to use a sunshine law to get info on a drug "task force" that an official insists doesn't exist since its official name was "Metro Multi-jurisdictional Undercover Drug Program."

This new story by Malin is actually also from last month, but just digested by me today, and at any rate represents a timeless problem: government using its own power to propagandize for itself.

As Malin reports:

According to the Clay County Drug Task Force, at a taxpayer funded conference supposedly dedicated to law enforcement training, Missouri's narcotics officers were taught the latest anti-legalization talking points. What's more, they received training credit hours (POST Certification) for their attendance at the class — all to become well-versed in the latest drug war propaganda. ….

Taxpayers should be troubled by the notion that their money, allocated for the training of our law enforcement officers, is used to fund political propaganda. Missourians should be troubled by the notion that learning the latest anti-legalization talking points counts as training hours for law enforcement. Cannabis policy reform activists should be troubled by the fact that dismantling an 80-year-old marijuana-prohibition complex, already an uphill battle, becomes even harder when we are forced to fund political training for our opposition with tax dollars…

Malin, who does much of his reporting via rigorous public record requests, informs us that "the Department of Public Safety only began redacting the name of this conference from documents I requested on task force grant funding after I began asking specific questions about these conference expenditures."

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  1. People who speak out against vice laws, and especially drug laws, already have the deck stacked against them. Unless you have a strong fiscal irresponsibility argument backing you up, the assumption is that advocating for less punishment means more of the vice. And now you get to deal with cops, the “troops on the front lines of the drug war”, spouting their anecdotes and carefully selected studies.

    On the plus side, stuff like this strengthens the claim that focusing on the drug war directly detracts from “real policing”, whatever the hell that is.

    1. “real policing”, whatever the hell that is.

      Revenue generation.

      1. I’ve found that the drug war is the argument I have where my talking points are most like the person’s who I’m arguing with. For example, “Police departments will be less likely to engage in civil forfeiture” and “Police will be less likely to harass people for victimless crimes” are things I share with the drug warriors, just to me they’re positives and to them they’re negatives.

        I was talking with some co-workers the other day about what would happen if drugs were legalized, and they were concerned that the effects of drugs would be more evenly distributed across society, rather than concentrated in the poor and the foreign. What a great reason to end it!

        1. “the effects of drugs would be more evenly distributed across society, rather than concentrated in the poor and the foreign”

          This is definitely a real, if largely unspoken, thing.

          The City of Oakland about 15 years ago was experimenting with harsher penalties for people caught soliciting prostitutes if they weren’t Oakland residents, because they noticed that *most* of the customers were affluent white guys from the suburbs who didn’t want unclean prostitutes in *their* neighborhoods.

          Never heard what became of that program, though. I don’t think it stopped the prostitution, but if prostitution were fully legal, it would be a lot harder to keep it away from the “clean” neighborhoods.

          1. “… if prostitution were fully legal, it would be a lot harder to keep it away from the “clean” neighborhoods.”

            In Nevada, where prostitution is legal, it is kept out of large cities by law and the only legal cat houses are “in isolated rural areas, away from the majority of Nevada’s population.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P….._in_Nevada

            Of course, that doesn’t keep the illegal prostitutes out of Las Vegas.

    2. Real policing would involve investigating crimes with actual victims. They don’t bother with that shit unless the victim knows someone because it requires actual work and doesn’t generate revenue.

      1. Exactly. I generally don’t talk to cops, but if they were to approach me at my house about a real crime with a real victim, as opposed to asking about the noise levels or if I’ve seen so-and-so with a drug warrant out, I may be tempted to help them out.

        I grew up in South Africa, and the policy of the cops there was to drop by your house an hour after you called and ask if you knew who did it. If not, case closed. The good news is everyone knew it, including the cops, so you were expected to protect yourself, and you did. Cops (more often sheriffs) are better here, but you really don’t want a country like South Africa as your benchmark.

        1. I’ve been the victim of more than a few crimes, and in all but one case the cops couldn’t be forced to give a shit. The only time they did was when I was a student, and only because it was referred to them by the school.

          I’ve attempted to report crime a few times, mostly property crime, and again they couldn’t give a shit.

          Give an anonymous tip if a harmless person selling a joint and they’ll send in a SWAT team..

          1. Yeah – since we apparently just want a group of functionaries to drive around and take reports, it seems like there is a lot of potential to save some money. You could probably just pay somebody $30K a year to do 99% of what police do – drive around and take reports – and you wouldn’t even have to give them guns and fancy cars and the broad authority to terrorize regular folks.

  2. Taxpayers should be troubled by the notion that their money, allocated for the training of our law enforcement officers, is used to fund political propaganda.

    Local business owners should be troubled by the notion that their money, extracted from them by mafiosi thugs, is used to purchase expensive homes and luxury goods for ruthless crime bosses.

    1. You must be referring to our public “servants” who are getting those expensive homes.

      Both they and the Mafia provide “protection” from those who’d harm you.

      To me, any government advertising is tyrranical, simply because the government takes taxpayer money, to try and convince taxpayers to support more government. If more government is needed, then taxpayers will ask for it and no advertising is needed.

      It’s “Give me your money (or else I’ll use this gun on you), to convince you to give me even more money, and if not, I’ll take more of your money in an attempt to be more persuasive in getting you to hand more over.”

      Wouldn’t it be nice, if those advocating for more governemnt, had to use their own money to do the advertising? That’s the way the free market works.

  3. Better than spending it on battering rams.

    1. There’s a whole different fund for that.

  4. Without all that drug-war money, they’ll go through withdrawal symptoms…they’ll have to check into Betty Ford!

    1. …except they won’t have any money to afford it. Catch 22!

  5. these cops are guilty of violating the Hatch Act and should be prosecuted, imprisoned, and lose their pensions. it may seem harsh but IT IS THE LAW.

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