"Because of the drug war, the role of the ‘peace officer’ has turned towards becoming an occupying force in our neighborhoods. . . We need to get back to helping people through community-based policing methods and using more effective and intelligent controls when drafting drug control policies."
Nick Morrow served as a deputy sheriff and detective for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, where he worked custody, patrol, narcotics and training assignments. He was certified as a Drug Recognition Expert Instructor and provided training to hundreds of law enforcement officers. He also provided drug abuse education to police, public defenders, paramedics, teachers, parents and students.
Nick grew up on Catalina Island, a very small town, and was mentored by Deputy Sheriffs, Firefighters, Paramedics and family members, especially his father. “All my heroes stood out front,” he says. “They didn't look over their shoulders to see what the right thing to do was. They took possession of and responsibility for their communities. They cared about and cared for the people that lived there.”
Nick didn’t always think he wanted to be a law enforcement officer. “I started off wanting to be a doctor. I moved towards law enforcement to try something new. Once I started doing the job and saw all the good I could do and all the adventures I could have, I was hooked.”
Over time, Nick witnessed that the drug laws he was enforcing were deeply flawed. “There was no one moment of realization,” Nick explains. “There were hundreds of moments, hundreds of people, and a whole career watching crime, pain, and the many difficulties that stem from narrow minded policy and a lack of education and resources to help the people who really needed it.”
Nick joined LEAP because he decided to become part of the solution. “Because of the drug war, the role of the ‘peace officer’ has moved towards becoming an occupying force in our neighborhoods.” he says. “This phenomenon is increasing the level of danger officers are exposed to every day. Policies are placing asset forfeitures as a high priority and evaluating police effectiveness on numbers instead of real successes. Aggressive enforcement policies and SWAT style tactics are increasingly being used instead of effective problem solving. We need to get back to helping people through community-based policing methods.”
Nick medically retired from law enforcement in 1995 due to injuries sustained on duty during the arrest of an intoxicated suspect. He now works as an expert witness, private investigator, and consultant. He lives in Southern California with his wife and two sons.