The key to improving police effectiveness and public safety is to return to the fundamental principles of modern policing, which means both increasing police-community trust and preventing crime instead of reacting to crime. Law enforcement agencies need four types of solutions to accomplish these goals: improving support for officers like us, equipping us with tools to prevent rather than react, focusing our efforts on public safety priorities, and directly engaging the community in our work.
Most criminal justice professionals agree that in order to improve public safety, we must focus resources on prevention, resorting to arrest and incarceration only when they are the most effective options. Criminal justice professionals need to be equipped with a range of tools to prevent crime and to address its underlying causes. Our solutions address the root causes of crime to improve public safety at four distinct stages of the criminal justice system: prevention, diversion, safety-focused incarceration, and successful reintegration.
Law enforcement officers often find the bodies of drug users who overdosed before they were able to quit. Officers know that many drug users relapse because, after drug treatment, they still struggle with mental and physical health problems, homelessness, and unemployment. When drug users relapse, they usually lose access to the services that they need to stabilize their lives and successfully quit drugs. As a result, many officers support harm reduction programs, which help drug users survive their addictions and stabilize their lives, rather than demanding that they quit before offering help.
The Law Enforcement Action Partnership believes that adult drug abuse is a public health problem and not a law enforcement matter. We do not promote the use of drugs and are deeply concerned about the extent of drug abuse and drug-related violence worldwide. However, both drug abuse and violence flourish under drug prohibition, just as they did during alcohol prohibition. LEAP recognizes that it will take time to strike a proper balance, blending private, public, and medical models to best control and regulate currently illicit drugs. Our speakers advocate for a range of strategies in line with their own diverse experiences and political philosophies.
Because the Law Enforcement Action Partnership was founded (as Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) to end the War on Drugs, and because the War on Drugs has effects around the world, LEAP remains dedicated to studying the impacts of global drug policy. We call attention to both the disastrous impact of the War on Drugs on other nations and the innovative drug policy solutions other nations are pioneering.