John Lorenzo | LEAP | Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

About John Lorenzo

Retired Chief of Marine Police

Southbury, CT

John Lorenzo created the Lake Lillinonah Authority (LLA) patrol in Connecticut in 1972 and served as Chief of Marine Police for 20 years. A veteran of the Korean War, he created the patrol in order to make the lake a safer environment. Initially, the patrol consisted of John and his boat serving on a voluntary basis, but by the time John retired in 1993 the patrol had twenty-eight officers.

As someone who devoted much of his life to the safety of his fellow citizens, John observed the enormous waste of resources and loss of life caused by the war on drugs and gradually came to the realization that he supported the legalization and regulation of all drugs. Drugs cause danger and suffering, he says, but their illegal status does not reduce that danger and instead causes additional widespread violence, breaking up families and hurting communities in the process.

For John, the “straw that broke the camel’s back” was the killing of Guadalupe mayor Manuel Lara Rodriguez. The murder took place in Mexico’s region of Chihuahua, which borders the United States and is plagued with daily violence as rival drug cartels wage gangland warfare. As John puts it, he does not advocate drug use, but he also does not advocate policies that result in violence and murder. Compare the regulation of alcohol after prohibition: when John was patrolling, he was able to spend his time effectively enforcing the intoxicated operating rules because he was not fruitlessly chasing alcohol possessors or responding to tragic violence related to an illegal alcohol market.

John’s practical views on the drug war are partially based on his unique career. In addition to serving as chief of police, John was also an electrical engineer who was awarded fifteen US patents over the course of his twenty-year career. He attended the University of Connecticut and graduated from the University of Bridgeport with an electrical engineering degree. He also attended and taught courses at the Creative Problem Solving Institute at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Currently, he lives in Southbury, CT where he and his wife Joyce volunteer for various community causes.

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