I'm Diane Goldstein. I served with the Redondo Beach Police Department for more than 20 years, retiring as a Lieutenant. I started as a strong supporter of the war on drugs, but over the course of my career, I began to reconsider it, both because of what I saw professionally and personally.
Over my career I arrested a significant number of people for drug use and possession. But I came to realize this didn't help anyone:
Our neighborhoods continued to have access to drugs, while we wasted fiscal resources prosecuting and incarcerating offender's for victimless crimes instead off violent and property crimes. But most importantly we threw away a segment of our society by labeling them as criminal offenders and limiting their opportunities for jobs and education.
My involvement in ending prohibition also results from personal experience, watching a family member become a casualty of this war.
My experiences have led me to an important conclusion: we need to stop incarcerating drug users and shift our priorities to education and rehabilitation that has proven to be more cost effective instead of funding a $50 billion a year war, not on enemy combatants, but on our families, our neighbors and our friends.
I am proud of my profession and want to put a stop to the widespread perception that police are an "occupying army" and to eliminate the disrespect of our profession engendered by prohibition in the communities we serve.
It is time to shift the paradigm from a punitive model to a rehabilitative model where incarceration is the last tool, not the only one.