Paul MacLean | LEAP | Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

About Paul MacLean

Retired State Trooper
Concord, NH

"No matter how much money is thrown at it, the illegal drug problem will never go away."

Paul MacLean
After serving in the Marines, Paul MacLean found police work a natural fit. Through twenty years with the New Hampshire State Police and ten years as a Special Deputy U.S. Marshal, he witnessed enough of the drug war to know that despite the mounting cost in money and lives, drugs are more available than before. He has been a patrol officer, a narc, and a prison guard and transporter as a U.S. Marshal. Over those years he saw immense expenditures of public funds wasted on a bottomless supply of low-level offenders while high-level criminals who would never see trial became increasingly wealthy.

Paul brought his sense of exacting precision and discipline that he learned in the Marines to his work in the New Hampshire State Police. In 1969, he was selected along with three other officers to serve in the burgeoning narcotics division. He soon became disillusioned with narcotics work and transferred back to regular police duty. Over the next seventeen years of service, he rose to the rank of Lieutenant and Troop Commander. As a patrol officer, his drug busts were few and minor, usually done concurrently with pulling people over for traffic violations. Things changed in 1986, when Paul was transferred back to the narcotics unit for the next two years. He was struck by the increase in the amount of manpower, money, and effort expended on small drug busts.

Paul retired from full-time duty in 1988. He then worked as a part-time Special Deputy U.S. Marshal for the next ten years, guarding and transporting prisoners in the district of Concord, New Hampshire. He served in a different position but continued to notice the same problem of immense costs for little benefit. "There were usually thirteen people in court on public payroll for each case, including the court appointed lawyer and interpreter." The result was usually the same: the street-level offender would go to prison for a few years, thereby draining more money from the public coffer and leaving a vacuum in the local drug market that would immediately be filled with still more dealers. He saw literally hundreds of street-level dealers come through the court, but he does not recall seeing even one high-level dealer come through over the ten years he spent as a U.S. Marshal.

When a friend told Paul about LEAP, he joined the campaign against prohibition and now calls upon other law enforcement professionals to be as brave as the badge requires and speak out against the continuation of the senseless drug war. "Near my home town recently, I saw a local cop on TV speaking about a lengthy investigation which resulted in a drug bust. Among other things, he said that drugs were more readily available and cheaper on his streets than ever before; therein lies the problem. No matter how much money is thrown at it, the illegal drug problem will never go away because of the huge profit in the sale and distribution. I am absolutely convinced of this and those of us [cops] who should know this and refuse to admit it are sticking their heads in the sand."

Concord, NH