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March 30, 2005 - The Quartzsite Times (AZ)

Man With A Mission Travels Through Town

Former Police Detective Wants An End To War On Drugs

By Joanne Winer, Quartzite Times

Return to Drug War News: Don't Miss Archive

Howard J. Wooldridge is a man on a mission. He is a 53-year-old retired police detective from Fort Worth, Texas who is traveling across the country on his one-eyed paint mare named Misty. Before he is done, he will have travelled 3,600 miles on his seven-month journey that started in Los Angeles on March 4 and will end up in New York City by Nov. 1.

Howard is a former lobbyist in the Texas Legislature. He is the media director for a group called LEAP, which means Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

The organization was started three years ago, and now has over 2,000 members, including 80 speakers like himself, at least one in every state. The goal of this organization is to educate Americans about the need to legalize all drugs and destroy the black market.

He is quick to assure people that he does not advocate drug use, but feels that the legalization of all drugs will take the very costly "War on Drugs" out of the hands of the police and under health control so the police can focus on the really bad people like murderers, child molesters, drunk drivers and other perpetrators of violent crimes.

"We need to make all drug issues a matter of public health, handled by doctors and clinics, not police or prisons," Wooldridge said.

"With over 70 billion dollars per year spent on the War on Drugs, it seems that the money should be spent to focus on the more serious crimes instead of using the police to spend their time on something that could be handled by the medical community."

Wooldridge and the others in LEAP, speak all over the country at Rotary, Lions Club, Kiwanis, and other groups. They have received lots of support from other law enforcement officers, mostly retired, who agree with their concept of what is most important for law enforcement to be concentrating on.

He told about how he saw three police cruisers stop a car recently, with six officers taking over an hour checking out a car for possible drugs, while they could have been letting many drunk drivers or other criminals pass by.

His group is one of many who believe that time is being wasted that could be better used for more serious things. There are more than a half dozen major reform groups, including the Drug Policy Alliance, MPP, the Marijuana Policy Project, and NORML, the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws.

They all believe that prohibition of drugs should be repealed and that it would take the black market away from the drug lords just as the end of prohibition against alcohol diminished the big Mafia control in the days of Al Capone.

Wooldridge will be travelling through the lower states on his journey to New York, speaking all through the trip.

After he reaches New York, his plans are to become a lobbyist again, this time in the U.S. government, where he hopes to find some officials willing to accept his ideas and further the cause.

He knows that the idea is not easily acceptable, but it has been receiving much more support every year. He believes that sometime in the future, people will understand what his group is trying to accomplish and that the laws will be changed. If you would like more information about LEAP, please contact them at or you can contact Howard Wooldridge himself at or call him at 817-975-1110.

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