Saturday, October 3, 2009

Don't you want to be an informant?

WASHINGTON — The nation's big city police chiefs are backing an anti-terrorism community watch program to educate people about what behavior is truly suspicious and ought to be reported to police.

Police Chief William Bratton of Los Angeles, whose department developed the iWATCH program, calls it the 21st century version of Neighborhood Watch.

Using brochures, public service announcements and meetings with community groups, iWATCH is designed to deliver concrete advice on how the public can follow the oft-repeated post-9/11 recommendation: "If you see something, say something." Program materials list nine types of suspicious behavior that should prompt people to call police and 12 kinds of places to look for it.


I believe that if you see something that looks wrong to you, you should report it to the appropriate organization that handles that particular kind of 'wrong-ness'. However, that is the sum total that needs to be said about the issue. Rather than do their jobs and investigate, pursue, and apprehend, the largest, most well funded police departments in the country want to turn the average citizen into an informant who will report anything about anyone whether is any other person's business at all.

I just can't help but shudder at the nightmare in bureaucracy this is going to create. And wasn't that what kept the FBI and CIA from putting all the pieces together before the September 11, 2001, attacks took place? Rather than streamline your intelligence gathering you are going to gather even more from even less reliable sources that must be analyzed by even more people who will be even less reliable because the best all ready work for first, the highest paying companies in the private sector, and second, the federal government.

Privacy, anyone?

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