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Neill Franklin – Narcotics Training, Maryland State Police & Baltimore P.D.
Over his 33-year career, Neill Franklin watched hardworking and dedicated fellow cops die in the line of fire enforcing policies that don’t do any good. After 23 years with the Maryland State Police, including as an undercover narc and as the head trainer for drug enforcement, Neill was recruited by the Baltimore Police Department to reorganize its education and training division. He now leads LEAP as the organization’s executive director.
“It pains me to know that there is a solution for preventing tragedy and nothing is being done because of ignorance, stubbornness, unsubstantiated fear and greed.” – Neill Franklin
Norm Stamper – Chief of Police, Seattle P.D. (Ret.)
Norm Stamper retired in 2000 as Seattle’s chief of police (the same position current White House “Drug Czar” Gil Kerlikowske held before joining the Obama administration). Before serving Seattle, Norm was a cop in San Diego, CA for 28 years, and led Mayor Pete Wilson’s Crime Control Commission. He authored Breaking Rank, a book on policing.
“The drug war has arguably been the single most devastating, dysfunctional social policy since slavery.” – Norm Stamper
Terry Nelson – U.S. Border Patrol, Customs, Dept. of Homeland Security (Ret.)
Terry Nelson spent his 30-year U.S. government career doing anti-narcotics work for various federal agencies, both domestically and south of the border, reaching down through Mexico and into South America. There, he saw how keeping drugs illegal fills the pockets of ambitious and bloodthirsty international cartels and terrorists.
“Legalization won’t be an immediate cure-all for drug abuse. What legalization can do, though, is take a $500 billion a year industry away from the control of gangs and cartels.” – Terry Nelson
Jim Gray – Superior Court Judge, Orange County, CA (Ret.)
After 26 years of sending drug offenders to jail from the bench, James P. Gray retired as a superior court judge in 2009. Previously, he served as a federal prosecutor in Los Angeles and in the Navy JAG Corps as a defense attorney and judge advocate. He wrote the book Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed and What We Can Do About It: A Judicial Indictment of the War on Drugs.
“Being a judge since 1983, I saw in my own court that we just churn people through the system. I can’t get the cases out of my mind, like the single mother who hooked up with the wrong boyfriend, a dealer, and then got sent to prison, leaving her kids behind. – Judge James Gray
Jack Cole – Undercover Narc, New Jersey State Police (Ret.)
More than a thousand people were arrested because of the undercover narcotics investigations Jack Cole did during his 26-year career with the New Jersey State Police. Striving to redeem himself for ruining so many lives, Jack joined with four other law enforcers in 2002 to found LEAP, which he now serves as Board chairman.
“I can’t tell you how many of the folks I sent to prison would have gone on to have productive lives had I not intervened. Ultimately, you can get over an addiction, but you’ll never get over a conviction.” – Jack Cole
Walter McKay – Mexican police corruption expert & former Canadian beat cop
Using his dozen-year experience as a beat officer, Walter McKay currently directs a project in Mexico aimed at stopping corruption in the country’s police forces. After seeing the front lines of the “drug war” on the streets of Canada and in cartel-embattled Mexico, Walter is an expert on the connection between prohibition and police corruption.
“The violence will not stop until the production and sale of these drugs are made completely legal so gangs and cartels can no longer make obscene profits selling them.” – Walter McKay
Leigh Maddox – Captain, Maryland State Police & Prosecutor, MD State’s Atty.
Leigh Maddox is currently a special assistant state’s attorney in Baltimore, supervising public nuisance cases against drug houses. She retired from the Maryland State Police in 2007 as a captain, and previously worked as a patrol trooper and supervisor, once serving undercover to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan. Leigh also handled legislative affairs, public relations and academy instruction for the department, and coordinated its racial profiling consent decree.
“Our failed drug policies are nothing more than a killing field, battering communities, pillaging minority families and subjecting generations of Americans to poverty, violence and a depth of hopelessness from which not even the strongest child can emerge without scars that haunt for a lifetime.” – Leigh Maddox
Russell Jones – U.S. Gov’t Intelligence; San Jose Narc & Rehab Trainer (Ret.)
Over his 30-year career in drug control, Russell Jones served as a San Jose narcotics detective, worked on DEA-run task forces and tracked narcotics trafficking in Latin America as a U.S. intelligence agent during the Nicaragua-Contra conflict. And, in the field of drug rehabilitation, Russ designed and taught courses for several California and Texas counties, as well as for privately run programs.
“Education has drastically reduced tobacco consumption, and we didn’t have to arrest our way to that reduction. But we’ve arrested our way into being the most incarcerated population on the planet, and it hasn’t stemmed the flow of drugs or our appetite for them.” – Russell Jones
Maria Lucia Karam – Judge, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Ret.)
Maria Karam’s 21-year Brazilian legal career spanned the spectrum of courtroom experience, from public defender to criminal court judge to family court judge. Under recent court rulings, Brazil has moved its drug policies away from the prohibition model. Former president Fernando Henrique Cardoso has called for marijuana legalization.
“In Brazil, as in the U.S., judges can incidentally declare the unconstitutionality of a law. That is what I did concerning drug prohibition.” – Maria Lucia Karam
Richard Van Wickler – Corrections Superintendent of Cheshire County, NH
Richard Van Wickler has managed a jail as superintendent of the Cheshire County, NH Department of Corrections for the past 15 years of his 20-year criminal justice career. He also teaches at two New Hampshire colleges and served in the military for 26 years.
“If prison-building were our goal, it would be a good reason to leave our drug laws as they are. But as a taxpayer and a professional, it’s certainly not a goal of mine.” – Richard Van Wickler
Jim Gierach – Prosecutor, Cook County, IL (Ret.)
As a Chicago prosecutor, Jim Gierach made charges stick in court and sent people to jail by perfecting search warrant complaints for narcotics officers. He also worked homicide court, where he saw the rampant gang violence that is caused by drug prohibition.
“Alcohol prohibition fueled crime and totally corrupted Chicago. Gangsters like Al Capone bribed police, politicians and courts. The same thing is happening now with drugs. Chicago gangs are killing each other in turf wars just like 1929 all over again.” – Jim Gierach
Peter Christ – Captain, Tonawanda, NY Police Department (Ret.)
One of LEAP’s original five founding members, Peter Christ retired as a police captain after 20 years on the force. As the organization’s most prolific speaker, he has presented in front of hundreds of civic, professional, educational and religious audiences. Peter reports that 25-30% percent of people he presents to sign up as LEAP members.
“We modeled LEAP after Vietnam Veterans Against the War. Whether you agreed with them or not, you couldn’t dismiss them because they were veterans who fought the war. I think a group of law enforcers has the same impact. You may not agree with me, but don’t tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about.” – Peter Christ