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Drug Enforcement and War on Drugs

Since the beginning of the 20th century, “the war on drugs” has been one of the main programs developed and introduced by the US government in order to prevent and reduce illegal drug trade and trafficking. The single most important service that intelligence can provide in the wars on drugs is a definitive picture of the drug trafficking threat. The conflict discussed in the case study shows that lack of coordination and planning are the main problems in Madison County. It is important to recognize that war on drugs has a great impact on the criminal justice system and law enforcement agencies. Critics admit that “war on drugs” have both positive and negative impact on criminal justice, creating certain stereotypes and putting pressure on the law enforcement agencies.

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The case study shows that the “war on drugs” helps the criminal justice system to control illegal drug trade and reduce the number of drug addicts. The creation of the threat estimate is a logical and orderly examination of all the factors which when combined give shape to the threat. The circularity of effects should be dear. As American communities changed, fear of the unfamiliar and unknown, and consequently that of crime, rose (Miller, 2004). As a result, when people encounter illegal acts they are more likely to call the police, out of fear, whereas in the past, when the situation did not contain the element of unfamiliarity, the issue would be handled informally. So increasing fear is a cause of acceleration in reported crime when the actual incidence of crime has remained stable. The majority of survey respondents are not satisfied with the present situation, characterizing information/intelligence exchange as being “hit or miss,” with actual “intelligence business” being conducted by personal contact and investigator meetings-in short, on a case by case basis (Miller 2004). They cited limited connectivity between existing and planned programs and limited integration of federal efforts with those of state and local. Some investigators query systems but are reluctant to provide information to input. In addition, “the war on drugs” becomes a real burden for the criminal justice system and prisons. Crowding in penal institutions may produce the most volatile situation of all (Miller 2004). It is important to recognize that control of drug dealers is more difficult as individual disciplinary problems and major disturbances increase, and individual deterioration is fostered.

The best solution to the conflict is to distribute money among all departments and small communities. This strategy will help the state to investigate the problem and plan further actions in this field. The role of police agent is to investigate causes and issues of federal importance, manage disasters, public safety, social order, victim prevention and enforcement of laws. A deficiency of cultural analysis has been failure to appreciate the complex relations between law and culture: this tends to be reproduced at a higher level in the work by members of agencies. Their own work shows the need for a more complex formulation.

Long-range planning, on the other hand, is of little help in conducting actual operations. Rather, it is useful for acquiring some idea of the future operating environment and of the trends and directions of the organization. Long-term programs and plans against drugs should be projected with more variation than short-run plans. Short-run plans on which operating programs are based require more detailed data. The sudden and drastic shifts and changes that can develop are felt in the long run. Another difference between short-range and long-range planning arises from the level of police authority involved (Miller 2004). So that the executive may have the vision necessary to prepare adequate and realistic strategic plans, information about future product lines, time and cost factors, promotional efforts, physical distribution, and the environmental factors becomes imperative (“The War on Drugs” 2001).

The case of drugs should be investigated as a federal matter if it deals with problems, crimes and issues under local jurisdiction, and cannot be prosecuted by the state agency. The assumption of the police model that law enforcement is the sole function of policing is replaced by a realization that the precedence of police work is service-provision and social order maintenance, and that these are usually achieved by methods other than law enforcement. Also, police investigate matters related to police violence, fraud and corporate scandals that took place on the federal level.

A “business as usual” strategy works against a criminal justice organization because it limits flexibility in decision-making and does not allow local departments to be active participants of the process. It is important to note that crime associated with drugs is not increasing, but the sense of insecurity is. Local police departments must come to grips with this issue and not allow it to become an issue blown out of perspective. Given the events that have transpired, one might hope for a return to a way of life known in the past, but such stepping back into history is impossible. Social changes that have occurred–many of which are positively valued by most people-cannot and should not be undone. It is not the same old America, nor should it be. It is important that the present status not be evaluated with viewpoints that are no longer appropriate. Most importantly, “the war on drugs” creates certain stereotypes such as the prevalence of drug addicts and traffickers among black populations. This leads to the relationship of fear to incivility which has important implications for policymakers and law enforcers. Ways of ameliorating fear, other than directly reducing crime, should be sought. Urban cleanup and renewal may actually be more viable methods of controlling the effects of crime than an actual reduction of incidence itself. Also, those aspects of the crime problem which influence the public’s sense of safety may be the aspects that law enforcement agencies tend to ignore. Local codes concerning abandoned buildings, unsightly graffiti, and other forms of vandalism are often not strictly enforced. There is little effort put into discouraging teenagers from hanging out in the streets and disturbing other neighborhood residents, and there are few attempts to reduce visible drug and alcohol consumption. It just might be that the symptoms are the cause, rather than the indicators, of a worse situation (Miller, 2004). Many people believe that crime and violence threaten the American system and their way of life. Crime and violence are perceived to be increasing and becoming more vicious and irrational, but the crime problem is being blown out of proportion. To an extent, these fabrications can be blamed on sensationalism by the mass media and exaggeration by the law enforcement establishment. But changes in communities and lifestyles have also contributed to fear among the public. In addition, many criminal courts and law enforcement agencies is under pressure because of inadequate laws and legislations on drug usage and trafficking (“The War on Drugs” 2001).

Local drug programs must be planned. As one of the most significant managerial functions, planning is a prime responsibility of the top police executive. The very nature of critical day-to-day operations, the pressures of time, and the tendency to act rather than plan, frequently cause executives to neglect this function. Planning provides police officers with a forward-looking view of the total enterprise. It is the basis for determining the fundamental strategies to be employed and the objectives, programs, and resources required. Long-term planning supplies the rational means for achieving maximum market-striking power and results from the resources in hand. Planning is closely related to problem solving. Planning constitutes an intentional, unified approach to the solution of various police problems. Although the specification of a plan for solving a problem is the first step, execution must accompany planning to achieve results. Planning is neither automatic nor impersonal. To proceed with it in terms of goals, policies, and programs, decision makers exercise judgments. The use of end-means analysis for planning purposes requires that the values concerning the ends themselves be clearly specified (Miller 2004).

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The strategy at a local level should be determined by complexity of the issues under investigation and duties performed by these agencies; the authority of the agencies is divided between geographical areas and tasks. If the police did not read people in custody their rights, they risked having the confessions thrown out by a federal judge. While many people criticized this ruling, the law enforcement agencies did not because it provided them with clear guidance concerning what they could do in the area of confessions. The authority of the agencies involves law deception and law exemption, secret police and other law issues outside power and control of the local law enforcement agencies. From this perspective, federal law enforcement is essentially a straightforward matter: the law and common sense are all that are required. Bittner remarked that organizations are ‘permanently flooded with petty military and bureaucratic regulations’ Legalism is closely linked to the conception of police organizations as effective bureaucracies. It is important to note that increased budget and support from the government has not helped the criminal justice system to eliminate drug trafficking and the number of drug addicts in the country. But “the war on drugs’ ‘ should be implemented at all levels in order to prevent all sources of drug sales and consumption.


Miller, J. (2004). Bad Trip: How the War Against Drugs is Destroying America. Thomas Nelson.

“The War on Drugs: Fighting Crime or Wasting Time? (2001). American Criminal Law Review, 38 (4), 1537.

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