Govt. endorsed snitching raises vast potential for abuse
If you only paid attention to the liberal media’s depiction of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, you’d think the professional lawman had neither a concept of legal parameters nor possessed what is clearly a sterling law enforcement career. In fact, Republican Arpaio is widely respected among the law-abiding citizens who have reelected him to an unprecedented five 4-year terms.
It’s harebrained Democrat Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw people need to worry about.
“We want people to call us if the guy down the street says he hates the government, hates the mayor and he’s gonna shoot him,” Bradshaw said. “What does it hurt to have somebody knock on a door and ask, ‘Hey, is everything OK?’ ”
In fact, his idea of preemptive law enforcement carried such sway with the Florida state legislature, that House and Senate budget leaders have ponied up $1 million for a new violence prevention unit — aimed at thwarting such acts from occurring on his turf. The amount is not quite the $3 million Bradshaw was seeking to launch “prevention intervention” units featuring fifteen specially trained deputies, mental health professionals and caseworkers. The teams will respond to citizen phone calls to a 24-hour informant hotline where residents can report neighbors, friends or family members they believe are engaging in suspicious activities or fear they could harm themselves or others.
That works for Senate budget chief Joe Negron, who helped push through the funding. He said he met with Bradshaw about the program and “got assurances from the sheriff that this is going to be done in a way that respects people’s autonomy and privacy, and that he makes sure to protect against people making false claims,” according to this report in the Palm Beach Post.
Think of the myriad ways that such spy-like reporting ”in the name of safety” could play out, with pettiness and retribution ruining lives and reputations. Someone needs to remind Sheriff Bradshaw that this is America 2013, not Germany in the 1930′s.
The goal of this preposterous overreach is crime prevention. Bradshaw says he wants to make sure law enforcement knows about potential powder kegs before tragedies occur. The $1 million funding provision has rightly provoked concerns among mental health providers and legal experts about the balance between civil liberties, privacy and protecting the public.
Bradshaw says, “As Sheriff, I am committed to making our neighborhoods in Palm Beach County safe for everyone.”
He neglects to mention that in order to accomplish his goal he will deliberately trample the rights of the citizens who put him in office.