Peter Christ retired as a police captain after a 20-year career enforcing drug laws. From the beginning, Peter believed “the drug war can never be won and it is doing more harm than good.” After retiring in 1989, Peter began speaking out publicly against that War. In 1993, he became one of the first members of “ReconsiDer”, one of the original forums on drug policy, involving speakers from many diverse backgrounds. Peter quickly developed into the group’s leading spokesperson, appearing at hundreds of venues.
Peter then originated the idea of creating LEAP, a drug policy reform group of current and former members of law enforcement modeled on “Vietnam Veterans Against the War”. In 2002, after four years of Peter’s preparation, LEAP finally emerged as a viable international nonprofit educational organization.
Christ is one of the most experienced of the LEAP speakers, having performed before hundreds of civic, professional, educational, and religious organizations, plus conducting television and radio interviews in dozens of markets. Peter speaks of the Drug War’s impact on: police/community relations; the safety of law enforcement officers and suspects; police corruption and misconduct; and the financial and human costs associated with current drug policies. These issues include the effect of drug prohibition on the judiciary, sentencing issues, prison populations and minority communities, as well as the usefulness of drug education programs in reducing drug abuse.
Norm Stamper is a former chief of police and writer.
Stamper is known for his role as Chief of the Seattle Police Department responsible for Seattle‘s response to the protests of the WTO Ministerial Conference of 1999, which eventually led to his resignation. Stamper has expressed regret about his decisions at the time. When discussing the use of chemical agents such as tear gas Norm Stamper declared it was a mistake and said “The chief in me should have said, ‘For the greater good, we ought not to have brought those chemical agents out. We ought not to have, I think, raised the stakes.’”
Since his resignation, Stamper has called for the legalization of all drugs and the case-by-case release of persons incarcerated for nonviolent drug offenses. He serves as an advisory board member for LEAP as well as NORML. He has also starred in the marijuana documentary The Union: The Business Behind Getting High.
Stamper is the author of a book entitled Breaking Rank: A Top Cop’s Exposé of the Dark Side of American Policing.
In response to the Occupy demonstrations, he has reiterated his regret about how he handled the protests in Seattle, and publicly stated the need to create an alternative to what he termed “the paramilitary bureaucracy that is American policing”, stating no change will happen “unless, even as we cull ‘bad apples’ from our police forces, we recognize that the barrel itself is rotten”.