David Bratzer, an active officer in the ranks of the Victoria Police Department, and also a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), was invited to speak at an event tomorrow night in Victoria. This event was sponsored and funded by the City itself, and from what I can tell it was some sort of panel discussion or forum on drug policy. The details are irrelevant — it was about harm reduction and the people there were probably all anti-drug-war folk like myself.
Mr. Bratzer and I are both on the Canadian Students for Sensible Drug Policy‘s Advisory Board — which is very cool because as I’ve mentioned before it’s made up of harm reduction superstars like Susan Boyd and Gabor Mate.
Anyway, without his knowledge someone higher-up in the force contacted the city and told them he was declining their invitation to speak. A while later, on February 24th, he received an order from another higher-up to not attend the event. Unfortunately, he has to follow the order or risk being fired and dishonourably discharged. So much for sticking up for your beliefs — you have to follow the chain of command. Here’s the article and press release about it.
I like the way the article phrases it — he’s fighting prohibition while risking his life every day enforcing it. What a position to find yourself in! Back at the Blueprints conference in October in Vancouver, the audience asked him why he bothered being a cop if he disagrees so strongly with such a large chunk of the law. “Because there’s a lot more to policing than drug laws.” He said he enjoys helping the community, and doing all the other awesome things cops do. I applaud him for being tough enough to stand up for his rights & beliefs while also being strong enough to defend the honour in his profession.
It’s cops like Mr. Bratzer that keep my last shred of faith in the law from totally disintegrating.
Another little update — I got hired to do a contract for YSB and it’s a very, very cool project. Because we just turned 50, they’re collecting the stories of 50 youth who have come through adversity to be successful and move past life on the street. I’m one of the leaders on the project because I have strong writing skills and good leadership/teamwork as well as charisma ;-). I actually put a link to my blog in the application and after reading it the woman who hired me passed it on to one of her co-workers, who passed it on, who passed it on etc. and apparently there’s a lot of YSB folk reading this now (and one ex-YSB person who had to move on 🙁 you know who you are and we miss you!). So, if I can get permission, I’ll post a couple of the stories on here, and either way they’ll be up on ysb.on.ca soon enough, whenever they finally launch our new website.
Hope all my readers find themselves well on this evening! What a beautiful day we had today — I actually sat and soaked up some rays earlier. Could even hear birds calling!