Jack A. Cole
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Jack A. Cole is an American drug policy reform activist and retired police officer. On March 16, 2002, along with four other police officers, Cole founded Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (or LEAP), a non-profit organization composed of former and current police officers, government agents and other law enforcement agents who oppose the current War on Drugs.
He retired a Detective Lieutenant after a 26-year career with the New Jersey State Police—fourteen in narcotics, mostly as an undercover officer. His investigations spanned cases from street drug users to international “billion-dollar” drug trafficking organizations. Jack ended his undercover career living nearly two years in Boston and New York City, posing as a fugitive drug dealer wanted for murder, while he tracked members of a terrorist organization that robbed banks, planted bombs in corporate headquarters, court-houses, police stations, and airplanes and ultimately murdered a New Jersey State Trooper.
Jack is a founding member and for eight years was executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, an organization representing more than a hundred-thousand police, judges, prosecutors, prison officials, and supporters from 120 countries. LEAP members know a system of legalized regulation of all drugs will remove the violence which is the result of drug prohibition. Jack is still their Board Chair.
After retiring, Jack dealt with the emotional residue left from his participation in this failed and destructive war on drugs by working to reform current drug policy. He moved to Boston to continue his education. Jack holds a B.A. in Criminal Justice and a Masters degree in Public Policy. During the seven years he spent in the Public Policy Ph.D. Program at the University of Massachusetts, his major focus was on the issues of race and gender bias, brutality and corruption in law enforcement. Jack believed ending drug prohibition would go a long way toward correcting those problems, so in 2002, when the Marijuana Police Project offered $50,000 start up money for an organization of police who would call for the decriminalization of one ounce of marijuana, Jack dropped out of his Ph.D. program to found LEAP.
Jack taught courses to police recruits and veteran officers on ethics, integrity, moral decision-making, and the detrimental effects of racial profiling. As Executive Director of LEAP, he presented papers at international conferences and spoken on drug policy reform in the Parliaments of Canada, Denmark, the European Union, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, as well as presenting more than 1,500 times to professional, civic, educational, political, and religious groups in 31 countries; Australia, Central, North and South America, Europe, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, and across the United States.
Jack is passionate in his belief that the drug war is steeped in racism, that it is needlessly destroying the lives of young people, and that it is corrupting our police. His discussions give his audience an alternative prospective of the US war on drugs from the view of a veteran drug-warrior turned against the war.