Vancouver Police Officer and drug law reform advocate Gil Puder died of cancer on November 15.
Puder had been an outspoken proponent of drug law reform, and a harsh critic of “overzealous” police officers who rigidly enforced drug laws. Puder claimed that the honour and integrity of police forces was compromised by their having to enforce drug prohibition.
Puder was an 18 year veteran of the Vancouver Police Department. When he first began speaking out and writing letters to newspapers, he was threatened with disciplinary action by his superiors. Vancouver Police Chief Bruce Chambers admitted that Puder had been ordered not to speak out about his personal views, even though Puder always made it clear that his statements were not meant as official police policy.
Despite the threats from his superiors and some harassment and intimidation from some of his colleagues, Gil Puder persisted in drawing attention to the futility of the drug war and the harm it does to the quality and integrity of policing.
Puder had just finished writing a book about his views and experiences. “Crossfire: A Street Cop’s Stand Against Violence, Corruption and the War on Drugs,” is scheduled for publication by Douglas and McIntyre next year.
For more on Gil Puder and his memorial service, go to: