WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate on Thursday approved the nomination of Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske as the nation's drug czar, signaling a change in U.S. drug policy.
Kerlikowske, a 36-year law enforcement veteran who has been Seattle's top cop for nine years, has pledged to take a balanced, science-based approach to the job. He also said he will focus on reducing demand for illicit drugs in the United States — a sharp contrast from the Bush administration's focus on intercepting drugs as they cross the border and punishing drug crimes.
I like the sound of that, but I haven't seen any evidence that Kerlikowske won't be supporting aggressive interdiction programs and harsh sentences. Regardless, there are a few reasons to feel optimistic that he will represent a departure from the blind arrogance and aggression of his predecessors.
Former Seattle Police Chief and LEAP member Norm Stamper has a terrific open letter to Kerlikowske.