Documentary Airs Differing Drug Views From Law Enforcers
As a boy, John Gayder couldn't understand how a beloved family member was somewhat ostracized after being arrested for carrying plant resin.
"This person, in my eyes, was a great person," he said.
"It was explained to me that he had tried to import the resin of a plant. That, to me, didn't seem to be reason enough to turn him into a monster," he recalled.
Years later, Gayder pursued a career in law enforcement. Today, he's a constable with the Niagara Parks Police.
While he pledged to protect and serve, he has never forgotten his past.
In 2002, he helped launch Law Enforcement Against Drug Prohibition, made up of law enforcement personnel and civilians who believe reforming drug laws is important to policing and the society police serve.
LEAP favours a system of legalized regulation as a more ethical and efficient measure for dealing with drug use, abuse and addiction.
"Based on my family experience and personal observations on the job, there are some flaws in the war on drugs," Gayder said.
He will share his story Saturday when Global TV airs the documentary The Damage Done - A Drug War Odyssey.
The one-hour documentary focuses on law enforcement officers such as Gayder whose years of experience in fighting the war on drugs has turned them into crusaders for legalization.
Senator Larry Campbell is also featured in the documentary.
The former RCMP drug squad officer, coroner and mayor of Vancouver, continues to fight for an end to drug prohibition.
"All these guys underwent striking transformations," said writer/director Connie Littlefield.
Gayder hopes the national exposure will lead other like-minded individuals to LEAP.
"This is one of the first major exposures for LEAP and I hope it starts people asking questions about drug policy reform."
LEAP has several thousand members across the globe, including judges, corrections officers, prosecutors and law enforcement officers as well as civilian supporters.
Members include both retired and currently serving law enforcement officers.
Gayder said their involvement in LEAP in no way reflects on their work as law enforcement officers or the agencies they work for.
"The views expressed by me are my own and do not reflect any official agency," he said.
The documentary will air nationwide Saturday at 7 p.m. on Global TV's Global Currents, a new series of social documentaries.
It is expected to be broadcast in the U.S. within a few months.
This article was originally published in The Review.
© 2006 Osprey Media Group Inc.
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