HOME . Andrea Lechleitner is an Honors high school English student who has aspirations to be a DEA agent. She wrote the following paper about Professor Constantine.


Thomas A. Constantine:
A Man of his Word

Andrea Lechleitner

Have you ever wanted to know how to be successful in Law Enforcement? Well, here's a hint. Take a look at Tom Constantine's professional career. He knows just how to be successful. Thomas A. Constantine possesses integrity, honesty, leadership and persistence, which have all been woven together perfectly to make him very successful both as the former administrator of the DEA and as the former Superintendent of the New York State Police.

One of the main qualities that Mr. Constantine possesses is honesty. This quality is evident by how he comports himself when speaking publicly. In this quote, which is to an assembly of law enforcement agencies in Mexico, he shows just what the honest truth is. " notorious, indicted drug traffickers, men who are responsible for torture and murder, hundreds of abductions and killings, corruption, violence, and drug addiction and the government of Mexico has done nothing to apprehend them and there is no one in Mexico we can trust to work with us to put a stop to them and their crimes."

Mr. Constantine knew that the truth had to be known, so he stepped up and did it. As a result of hearing the truth, President William Clinton had to send one-half of his cabinet members down to Mexico to "smooth ruffled feathers" with the government of Mexico (O'Neill online). Mr. Constantine always tells the truth, no matter what the outcome or consequences will be. He also poses questions to people that will make them think and come up with an honest answer. Some examples are: "How can we expect our children to reject drugs when some authorities are telling them that illegal drugs should no longer remain illegal, but should be used instead to help the sick?", and "How can we expect our child to get a straight answer about the harmfulness of drugs when adults endorse their use?". Some other quotes are: "We cannot afford to send ambivalent messages about drugs at this critical time, when millions of young Americans.", and "...the message to our teenagers is clear: drug use is legitimate and holds no stigma." These quotes represent that Mr. Constantine told the truth, even when he was alone in his feelings. A few other good quotes show his honesty shining through. For example: "I believe we all need to speak out vigorously to accurately portray the California and Arizona initiatives for what they really are - - dishonest attempts to legalize drugs.", "...the legalization of drugs will result in more damage to families and communities.", and finally, "It is up to the DEA to get the facts out and to educate Americans about the dangers of drug legalization." ("National Families in Action" online).

A related quality that Mr. Constantine possesses is integrity. This quality comes out in his commencement speech to the graduates of Stonehill College in 1997, the very first rule of his "Seven Rules to Live a Just Life", was to always conduct yourself in an ethical fashion, and in order to do hat, you need to have integrity. To make sure that you live by your ethics, you need to ask yourself these questions: 1) Would you be proud to have someone sitting beside you for eight hours, hearing everything you discuss, and privy to all your decision making? 2) Did you conduct yourself in a professional manner? 3) Did you use fairness as a guide for your actions? 4) Did you put in a full day of work? 5) Have you treated everyone equally? ("In His Own Words" online).

"As in all criminal prosecutions it is our moral, legal, and ethical obligation to ensure that all individuals are afforded a fair trial and that all evidence, including exculpatory evidence, is made available for review by the presiding judge(s)" ("Interview with Tom Constantine" online). This quote shows that Mr. Constantine always puts his integrity first and foremost in his life. Terry O'Neill, his personal friend, said that Tom prides himself on his integrity. That quality, which happened to make him an outsider in the Clinton Administration, actually led him to the British government, where he serves as the Oversight Commissioner for the Reform of the Royal Ulster Constabulary in Northern Ireland (O'Neill e-mail message).

Another, more important quality that Mr. Constantine possesses is leadership. Ever since the beginning of is career, he has always been in charge of something or someone, which has helped him in the job of Administrator of the DEA. In Mr. Constantine's days before the DEA, he was involved with the New York State Police. In 1962, he entered the NYSP as a uniformed trooper. He then continued on to be a Narcotics and Major Crime Investigator, Sergeant, Lieutenant in Charge of Recruiting, Captain of the Statewide Organized Crime Task Force, Major, Troop Commander, Staff Inspector, and Assistant Deputy Superintendent.

As you can see, Mr. Constantine was always being promoted into bigger and better positions. As the Superintendent, Mr. Constantine oversaw a statewide law enforcement agency, which had around forty-eight hundred uniformed and investigative members and civilian support personnel.

Among many other awards, Mr. Constantine received the Governor's Law Enforcement Executive of the Year award in 1994 Mr. Constantine was appointed Administrator of the DEA on March 11, 1994 by President William Clinton ("The DEA Administrator" online). As Administrator, Mr. Constantine oversaw a workforce of seven thousand special agents and support staff. There were offices in all fifty states, and offices in over fifty foreign countries. Mr. Constantine also successfully created new programs to promote closer cooperation with the state and local law enforcement agencies ("Constantine's Circus" online). The appointing of Mr. Constantine as Administrator of the DEA by President Clinton, was most likely the best appointment he ever made. It also happened at exactly he right time because the productivity of the DEA was rapidly declining, and the illegal drug usage was rapidly increasing ("Tom Constantine, Participant or Dupe: Another Perspective on the Decline of the DEA" online).

Some of Mr. Constantine's achievements as the Administrator include: advanced rigorous integrity and ethical standards for DEA employees and new recruits, he decentralized Headquarters decision-making authority, he also streamlined Headquarters operations. All of those items allowed the redistribution of Special Agents to the field to address the problem of violent drug crimes, which negatively affected the quality of life in the United States of America. ("The DEA Administrator" online).

Mr. Constantine is looked up to and admired because he is a simple, yet impassioned man. He is also a good husband and father, a mentor to many (O'Neill online). Mr. Constantine is able to relate to the other people of the DEA as equal officers, and not as a boss (Olechwski online). Mr. Constantine goes about solving his problems in a logical way. He thinks about he problem, analyzes it, and then decides what will help him achieve his main goal. He is also not afraid to ask for help from former administrators and former officers (O'Neill e-mail message). All of these qualities combine together to make up his third quality. Leadership.

The fourth, and final quality that Mr. Constantine possesses is persistence. This quality is brought about by what he has personally accomplished in his life. For example: while he was working full-time, he supported his family, completed his undergraduate work, and he also became one of the first five to get a degree while serving on the State Police Force. Mr. Constantine also completed academic work toward his doctorate degree. In the Law Enforcement area, he created graduate programs for members of the State Police force, and he also managed to raise the higher education requirements for its new recruits ("Constantine's Circus" online). Mr. Constantine received his bachelor's degree from State University College at Buffalo, he received his master's at State University of New York at Albany, and he also completed some work in a doctoral program ("The DEA Administrator" online).

If you are considering joining the DEA, you will need a college degree, and at least one year of graduate school, just like Mr. Constantine has (U.S. Department of Labor 367-368). If you want to join the DEA, Mr. Thomas A. Constantine is a very good example of all the qualities that you will need. Of them, the most important are: honesty, integrity, leadership, and persistence. Mr. Constantine is also a good mentor for your career in the DEA.

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