Norm Stamper

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Norm Stamper
Born 1944 (age 69–70)
San Diego, California
Police career
Department Seattle Police Department
Years of service 1966 – March 2000
Rank Chief of Police
Other work consultant, advisor, writer

Norman Harvey Stamper is an American former chief of police and writer.[1]

Stamper is known for his role as Chief of the Seattle Police Department responsible for Seattle's response to the protests of the WTO Ministerial Conference of 1999, which eventually led to his resignation.[2] Stamper has expressed regret about his decisions at the time. When discussing the use of chemical agents such as tear gas Norm Stamper declared it was a mistake and said "The chief in me should have said, 'For the greater good, we ought not to have brought those chemical agents out. We ought not to have, I think, raised the stakes.'"[3]

Since his resignation, Stamper has called for the legalization of all drugs and the case-by-case release of persons incarcerated for nonviolent drug offenses.[4] He serves as an advisory board member for LEAP as well as NORML.[4][5] He has also starred in the marijuana documentary The Union: The Business Behind Getting High.

Stamper is the author of a book entitled Breaking Rank: A Top Cop's Exposé of the Dark Side of American Policing.[6]

In response to the Occupy demonstrations, he has reiterated his regret about how he handled the protests in Seattle, and publicly stated the need to create an alternative to what he termed "the paramilitary bureaucracy that is American policing", stating no change will happen "unless, even as we cull 'bad apples' from our police forces, we recognize that the barrel itself is rotten".[7]


  1. ^ "Norm Stamper's Police Career". The Seattle Times. 1999-12-07. 
  2. ^ Rick Anderson (1999-12-01). "Protesters riot, police riot". Seattle Weekly. Retrieved 2009-03-30. 
  3. ^ Amy Goodman, Juan Gonzalez, Norm Stamper (2009-3-03-30). Democracy Now! “I Made Major Mistakes”–Ex-Seattle Police Chief Admits Response to 1999 WTO Protests Was Too Heavy-Handed. Retrieved 2009-3-03-30. 
  4. ^ a b Amy Goodman, Juan Gonzalez, Norm Stamper (2009-03-30). Democracy Now! Citing Failed War on Drugs, Former Seattle Police Chief Calls for Legalization of Marijuana and All Drugs. Retrieved 2009-03-30. 
  5. ^ "Norm Stamper". About NORML. 2006-12-29. Retrieved 2009-03-30. 
  6. ^ Hector Castro (2005-06-14). "A moment with ... Norm Stamper, former Seattle police chief". Retrieved 2009-03-30. 
  7. ^ "Paramilitary Policing From Seattle to Occupy Wall Street". Retrieved 2011-11-21.