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The Drug Legalization Debate


SUNDAY, APRIL, 18, 1999

TO THE EDITOR: New York City Police Commissioner Howard Safir criticizes the unanimous vote of no-confidence in him by 400 Patrolmen's Benevolent Association delegates as politically motivated (front page, April 14). I write as a 17-year veteran of the N.Y.P.D. and a former police chief of San Jose who survived a vote of no-confidence by that city's police union. Four New York City police officers have been charged with murder for the shooting of Amadou Diallo, and under Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani the department has suffered terrible scandals. The P.B.A.'s charge that the Mayor has set the climate for such atrocities by adopting an errant style of policing should not be dismissed as politics. When police officers are put under pressure by politicians to produce good statistics, bad things happen to members of minority groups. Whatever its motivation, the P.B.A.'s charge that police officers are under political pressure to make arrests deserves a fair analysis.

Joseph D. McNamara Stanford, Calif.,

April 15, 1999 The writer is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University

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