“Tremendous Failure:” Will Top Cops End the Drug War?

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Max Chantha | October 24, 2105

WASHINGTON DC – In what could be a welcome surprise from police leadership across the nation, police chiefs, D.A.s, and prosecutors have come together in an effort to reform some of the more draconian punishments, as well as taking a closer look at what really warrants being a crime in 21st Century America.

The joint initiative is called Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration, and is a hopeful sign of possible reform across the board – the type of reform those who believe in individual freedom have been calling for.

It’s encouraging – but not yet any sort of guarantee – to see the chiefs of Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, and D.C. police departments broaching the subject of positive development in the judicial system.



Perhaps most significant is Houston chief Charles McClelland calling the Drug War “a tremendous failure” that has disproportionately harmed generations of young minorities through exorbitant punishments that extend well beyond prison sentences.

This speaks to one of several important aspects the initiative means to tackle: creating a different route for dealing with drug and mental health arrests that do not unnecessarily penalize citizens.


Another long-desired proposition that’s been put on the table is reducing the ridiculous number of felony crimes, non-violent and drug-related, and reducing them to misdemeanors.

This will free up room in America’s unbelievably bloated prison system for real criminals.

This, along with the initiative’s aim to reduce mandatory minimum sentencing, would spell a new era in liberty for America.

The most important point of the initiative, however, was to end the antagonistic relationship between police and the American people: Los Angeles chief Charlie Beck went so far as to say police can no longer, “be at war with the communities they serve.”

For too long the increasing overreach and militarism of departments across the nation have made American citizens fear and dislike the people meant to protect them and their rights.

While this an exciting move, it should not be taken as a turnaround of the entire system Americans have grown to despise.




This gesture from police leadership is promising, but there is a long path of institutional change before these reforms could become concrete.

This message, as of now, is solely from leadership, men far removed from patrolling the streets.

Those in the ranks of police who are used to abusing their authority and profiting from oppression may not take wholeheartedly to being reined in.

The War on Drugs has been bloody, needless, but incredibly lucrative for some; there will doubtless be resistance to any reforms from those profiteers.

If nothing else at this moment, it is a good sign.

Though the reign of the warrior cop has made many of us cynical and weary of so-called change from within, there is still hope that those who’s responsibility it is to dictate laws and enforce them can wake up to the truth.

Watch the video below of a former police captain demolishing the war on drugs:





Max Chantha is a writer and investigative journalist interested in covering incidences of government injustice, at home and abroad. He is a current university student studying Global Studies and Professional Writing. Check out Max Chantha: An Independent Blog for more of his work.

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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5631 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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