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Stephen Downing
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Entries by Stephen Downing

Nonviolent Drug Offenders Should Not Be Taking Up Prison Beds

(0) Comments | Posted November 4, 2014 | 9:36 PM

Few people know what it feels like to arrest a man. To hear the click of the handcuffs that so ominously foretells the loss of freedom, citizenship rights and personal potential for years to come. To know that while he's imprisoned, other far more dangerous criminals are getting away. And...

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The Militarization of American Policing

(12) Comments | Posted August 28, 2014 | 9:49 AM

It is sad that it took a police killing and the excessive deployment of a military presence by local law enforcement in Ferguson, Missouri to focus national attention upon a problem that has been metastasizing within American law enforcement since the early 1970s.

The militarization of local law enforcement was...

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What the 21 Jump Street Franchise Neglects to Say About Undercover Cops in Schools

(2) Comments | Posted August 14, 2014 | 3:02 PM

When 21 Jump Street, a comedy about underachieving cops sent to a local high school to bring down a student drug ring, was released in 2012, it was ranked the #1 High School Comedy. Two years later, the sequel, set in college, has been playing in theaters for more than...

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Honorable Death, Misguided Policy

(5) Comments | Posted July 1, 2013 | 3:45 PM

When I think of the destruction wrought by the war on drugs, I think of the many police officers killed in the line of duty attempting to enforce our country's draconian drug policy. In particular, one face stands out in my memory: that of Detective Gerald "Blackie" Sawyer.

In 1971,...

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Silence Says a Lot: An Open Letter to Google About Marijuana Legalization

(111) Comments | Posted February 2, 2012 | 4:23 PM

Dear Google/YouTube:

In more than twenty years with the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), where I retired as deputy chief of police, I saw a lot of puzzling behavior at close range. This week I saw some odd behavior from Google, YouTube and President Obama.

It started when I submitted,...

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An Open Letter to California Chiefs of Police and Sheriffs

(40) Comments | Posted October 24, 2011 | 12:50 PM

Dear Fellow Law Enforcers,

The federal government has put up another $72 million in "war-on-drugs-grants" to redirect your police resources once again from true public safety duties in order to extend their failed war on drugs; this time with a savage assault on California's 15-year-old medical marijuana...

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