Karen Hawkes | LEAP | Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

About Karen Hawkes

Retired Massachusetts State Trooper

Boston area, MA

Karen Hawkes served as a Massachusetts state trooper for thirteen years. Over the course of her career she made several drug arrests. She served as a contraband officer, processing narcotics evidence and preparing it to be analyzed.

“I realized the futility of the drug war early in my career,” Karen explains. “The academy and field training I received on the State Police taught me a lot about drugs and the futility of drug laws - I witnessed firsthand how ineffective, counterproductive and downright dangerous our drug laws are to society and most importantly to children.”

Karen is a mother and has worked with children in several capacities including her work as a Girl Scout leader and Sunday school teacher. She is particularly concerned about the drug war’s effect on children.

“A better alternative to incarceration would be to provide parents the medical help they need to overcome their addiction,” she suggests. “This way, parents would be able to maintain their parental rights and raise their children. The children benefit by staying in the environment which is most conducive to their happiness and success.”

She feels it is unnecessary to put police officers’ lives in danger because of ill-conceived drug laws. “I am proud to have served as a state trooper,” she says. “Drug laws put law enforcers at risk for violence such as shootings, stabbings and being stuck with hypodermic needles. Children whose parents are police officers need their parents too.”

Karen believes that ending the drug war would restore the public’s respect for law enforcement. “Police officers should evoke feelings of safety and security from children, as portrayed in the Norman Rockwell painting ‘The Runaway,’” she explains. “But I believe the drug war puts law enforcers in a bad light. Ironically, the actual bad guys – the cartels and gangs – are the only beneficiaries in this fruitless war.”

Karen graduated cum laude from both Northeastern University for her BSBA degree in finance and Western New England College for her graduate degree in criminal justice administration.

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