Simi Valley Sophist

The Simi Valley Sophist ruminates on all manner of topics from the micro to the macro. SVS travels whatever path strikes his fancy. Encyclopedia Britannica: Sophist "Any of certain Greek lecturers, writers, and teachers in the 5th and 4th centuries BC, most of whom travelled about the Greek-speaking world giving instruction in a wide range of subjects in return ..."

Location: California, United States

Retired: 30years law enforcement-last 20 years Criminal Intelligence Detective.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Miami Police & the ACLU = Ineffective on Terrorism

In the news this week was a report that the police in Miami, Fla., are going to be conducting surprise, random sweeps to thwart terrorism.

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.

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

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.

…officers might, for example, surround a bank building, check the IDs of everyone going in and out and hand out leaflets about terror threats.

Who thought up this gem of a plan? If Miami P.D. has so much money to spend, maybe they could hire some more officers and train them to become first-rate intelligence detectives. Then maybe Florida could develop sources of information of their own and not have to depend upon a certain federal agency that is notorious for not sharing information.

It is true that terrorists do conduct surveillance on potential targets. They do so for a number of years in advance of an attack. Now with police announcing that they are going to randomly detain people and check identification, they might just stop a jihadist in the midst of surveilling a potential target. So now what? Are the police going to run the name of every detained person through national databases? If so, the detention will be more than a minor infringement upon the free movement of the people. If there is no hit in a potential jihadist database, which is liable to be the case, the police will not have a clue whether or not they have detained a potential jihadist. But, don’t worry; The American Civil Liberties Union will never stand for such a plan. Not!!! Here’s what an ACLU spokesman said.

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."

Police officers do have the power to stop, detain and ask for identification, but they need some articulable suspicion of criminality to do so. Now, if an officer merely requests that a person voluntarily submit identification, the person may decline to be interviewed or provide identification. So what is going on here?

The police state that they want to deter terrorism. This is a noble cause with an ineffective technique and a lot of intrusion into the privacy of the citizens. The police administrators are jerking us around.

The ACLU alleges that the “…Miami initiative appears aimed at ensuring that people's rights are not violated.” and “What were dealing with is officers on street patrol, which is more effective and more consistent with the Constitution,"…”

Clearly the only way for the street police to be effective thwarting surveillance of and targeting by jihadists is to continually saturate areas and interview everyone. This is a manpower intensive effort. You can be sure that is not what the ACLU has in mind. So, my guess is that the ACLU already has an agreement with Miami P.D. that ensures that the street program is non-intrusive and therefore totally ineffective. You can be sure the ACLU does not want to see Miami P.D. invest in more intelligence detectives, who would have the potential to identify jihadists. But, that would require the type of investigative techniques that drives the ACLU batty. You know, like develop a database of potential jihadists.