WASHINGTON (CNN) - The U.S. Senate Thursday confirmed Seattle, Washington, Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske as the new head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
"I am pleased that Mr. Kerlikowske supports combating drug use and crime with all the tools at our disposal, including enforcement, prevention, and reatment," Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, said in a written statement.
"I have always advocated vigorous enforcement and punishment of those who commit serious crimes. (But) along with others who serve in law enforcement, I also know that punishment alone will not solve the problems of drugs and violence in our rural communities. ... I congratulate Chief Kerlikowske and his family on his confirmation today, and I look forward to working with him in the years ahead."
Kerlikowske, 59, is a military veteran with 36 years of law enforcement experience. He has headed Seattle's police department for the last nine years.
Kerlikowske will take over for John Walters, who held the position under President George W. Bush.
The job of drug policy chief entails overseeing the agency that sets the country's drug control strategy.