Abolish Your Local Police
Liquidate Your Local Police
by William Norman Grigg
Mary Lee Cook, an 84-year-old resident of Oak Hill, Florida, didn’t seem like the kind of person who would secretly cultivate marijuana behind her home. Yet on June 6, deputies assigned to the East Volusia County Narcotics Task Force materialized on her doorstep in response to a tip that Cook was growing the illicit weed on her property.
Diane Young, Chief of the Oak Hill Police Department, had already visited the scene. Without notifying Cook or presenting a search warrant, Young had climbed a fence and taken photographs of the offending plants.
The deputies searched Cook’s backyard and found a half-dozen desiccated pot plants. Under what is advertised as the “law,” this was sufficient evidence to justify arresting the octogenarian and seizing her property. In this case, however, the deputies destroyed the plants and dropped the charges.
It was her considerable good fortune that Cook was the Mayor of Oak Hill, a town of about 1,500 people. She had inherited that position just a few weeks earlier when her immediate predecessor, Darla Lauer, resigned in disgust and frustration. The proximate cause of Lauer’s dismay was Chief Young – the same officer who had supposedly received the “tip” about Cook’s secret marijuana garden, and had used illegal means to take photographs of the contraband.
Young was appointed Oak Hill Police Chief in 2010 through a 3-2 vote by the Town Commission; Cook (at the time a Commissioner) and then-Mayor Darla Lauer cast the two negative votes. Prior to being selected as chief, Young was the city’s code enforcement officer – that is, she was a uniformed pest issuing petty extortion demands (also called “citations”) against local property and business owners. Young discovered her vocation for law enforcement relatively late in life, getting an associate’s degree in law enforcement and attending the academy at the age of 48.