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Obama Taps Police Veteran For Drug Czar

(AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
President Barack Obama will appoint a 36-year law enforcement veteran to be the country's next drug czar, the Associated Press reports.

An administration official said that R. Gil Kerlikowske, Seattle's police chief, has been tapped to lead the nation's drug control program. It's a job that in past administrations has been a Cabinet-level post. As drug czar, Kerlikowske, 59, will head the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which is responsible for reducing illegal drug use and trafficking, drug-related crime, and drug-related health problems in coordination with federal, state, and local entities. The office was established in 1988.

The official spoke to the Associated Press on the condition of anonymity as no official announcement had been made. There was no word on when Kerlikowske's appointment would be announced.

Before being appointed Seattle police chief, Kerlikowske (kur-lin-COW-skee) was an official at the U.S. Justice Department, overseeing community policing grants. He also has worked as a police officer in Florida and New York and in the U.S. Army Military Police.

Kerlikowske holds both undergraduate and masters degrees in criminal justice from the University of South Florida in Tampa, and is a graduate of the National Executive Institute at the Federal Bureau of Investigations Academy in Quantico, Virginia.