MacKenzie Allen | LEAP | Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

About MacKenzie Allen

Retired Deputy Sheriff

Santa Fe, NM

MacKenzie Allen made hundreds of drug arrests in the course of his law enforcement career and has been an eyewitness to the violence between drug dealers fighting over the lucrative illegal drug market. His law enforcement career began in California with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. He began in the L.A. County jail system and then became a “patrol” deputy, working for a time in South Central L.A. in the area adjacent to the notorious Watts district, infamous for gang violence, riots and citizen-police conflict.

He then moved to Washington State where he began work as a deputy for the King County Sheriff’s Office, where he trained new deputies, became a Master Police Officer, and was the first in the department to become a community police officer, tasked with building better community relations and suppressing crime in the County’s most difficult neighborhood. He also spent some time as an undercover narcotics detective for the Street Crimes Unit. Disguised as a middle-aged, burnt-out “cluck head” (cocaine smoker), he made hand-to-hand drug buys and worked with informants. MacKenzie never pursued promotion because he preferred to continue working “the streets”.

While working in the LA County jail system early in his career, MacKenzie witnessed what he refers to as “a totally futile policy.” He explains, “The jail population was huge. Our claim to fame was that the Men’s Central Jail in downtown L.A. was the largest jail in the free world. All week long we’d pop people for small amounts of heroin or cocaine or for being under the influence of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor in California. We filled the jails with these people to the point of severe overcrowding. To this day we don’t have the hard cells to lock down serous criminals because the jails are jammed with low-level offenders.” He believes legalizing and regulating all drugs will bring an end to much of the harm done to society - and law enforcers - caused by the drug war.

During his time as an undercover narcotics detective, MacKenzie came to see his informants and other addicts as people in need of health care, not jail time, unless they commit crimes that hurt others. He feels a national commitment to approaching drug abuse as a health problem, with heavy emphasis on education, is far more likely to produce a positive result than the revolving door of the criminal justice system.

Mac holds a B.S. degree from Cornell University and is an alumnus of the Missouri Auction School, the oldest auction school in the country.

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