Tuesday, November 29, 2005

What are the Miami police thinking?

Miami Police Take New Tack Against Terror
Nov 28 9:28 PM US/Eastern

Associated Press Writer

Miami police announced Monday they will stage random shows of force at hotels, banks and other public places to keep terrorists guessing and remind people to be vigilant.

Deputy Police Chief Frank Fernandez said officers might, for example, surround a bank building, check the IDs of everyone going in and out and hand out leaflets about terror threats.

"This is an in-your-face type of strategy. It's letting the terrorists know we are out there," Fernandez said.

The operations will keep terrorists off guard, Fernandez said. He said al-Qaida and other terrorist groups plot attacks by putting places under surveillance and watching for flaws and patterns in security.

Police Chief John Timoney said there was no specific, credible threat of an imminent terror attack in Miami. But he said the city has repeatedly been mentioned in intelligence reports as a potential target.

Timoney also noted that 14 of the 19 hijackers who took part in the Sept. 11 attacks lived in South Florida at various times and that other alleged terror cells have operated in the area.

Both uniformed and plainclothes police will ride buses and trains, while others will conduct longer-term surveillance operations.

"People are definitely going to notice it," Fernandez said. "We want that shock. We want that awe. But at the same time, we don't want people to feel their rights are being threatened. We need them to be our eyes and ears."

Howard Simon, executive director of ACLU of Florida, said the Miami initiative appears aimed at ensuring that people's rights are not violated.

"What we're dealing with is officers on street patrol, which is more effective and more consistent with the Constitution," Simon said. "We'll have to see how it is implemented."

Mary Ann Viverette, president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, said the Miami program is similar to those used for years during the holiday season to deter criminals at busy places such as shopping malls.

"You want to make your presence known and that's a great way to do it," said Viverette, police chief in Gaithersburg, Md. "We want people to feel they can go about their normal course of business, but we want them to be aware."

You have to wonder what the Miami police are doing! Surrounding a bank and forcing everyone to show ID. They think this will stop terrorism?

You have got to be kidding me.

I like and support the police departments all over this fine nation; however, this seems every bit as silly as random seat belt checks.

I have an idea for the police, go and chase criminals. Solve all of the unsolved crimes in your area if you are bored, better yet, go out and serve the MILLIONS of outstanding arrest warrents in this nation...

Or here is another idea, take all of the overtime tax money that we waste on the police department doing random seat belt checks and put all of this money into a fund to build more prisons. Then, after these prisons are built, make it so inmates no longer have to serve ONE HALF of their original sentences!


P. T. Schram said...

I consider this to be yet another step in the gutting of the bill of rights in the name of terrorists. For some reason, "They" think that forcing law abiding citizens to submit to scrutiny is a good thing for a "Free" country.

In 1998, I ran for Sheriff of Allen County as a Libertarian. At that time, there was much discussion of Indianaplois' random road blocks to stop drug trafficking. Then Sheriff Joe Squadrito commented that we were sliding a slippery slope toward a "State" similar to that of Nazi Germany where citizens were commonly stopped and subjected to "Your Papers Please". As you might imagine, this resulted in an outcry, soundly condemning the actions of the Indianapolis Police. Strange how things change in just a few years.

What really concerns me is the likelihood that a law abiding citizen will be placed under even greater scrutiny for refusing to comply with demands to identify themselves as they feel it is unreasonable if there is no "Reasonable and articulable suspicion" of their have been involved in wrongdoing.

This activity is completely different from that taking place in New York City subways. In NYC, individuals chose to use public transportation. In the case of Miami, I have chosen to enter my bank to conduct business. At no point in my establishing a relationship with my bank did I consent to a warrantless search just for doing business with my bank.

A sad day in America in deed.

P. T. Schram

Lewis said...

I recently changed my health insurance plan. This involved setting up a new bank account. On the application it stated that pursuant to the U.S. Patriot Act, they are required to collect information, and proof of verification.
The Patriot Act at its best is a deeply flawed bill, in practice all I've seen is more red tape. The law that is supposed to protect us is simply protecting the jobs of paper pushers.
The abuses of state power that the law enables are truly scary, and we need to think about either repealing the act or drastically changing it.

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