Law Enforcement Needs to Improve Search Methods

Law Enforcement Needs to Improve Search Methods

Dear Editor,

San Diego law enforcement agencies established a facial recognition system using 133 Galaxy tablets and smartphones since January 2013. The sheriff’s department and San Diego Police Department have the most devices, with 64 and 27 devices, respectively.

Sheriff’s Commander David Myers said the tablets and smartphones are used when an officer thinks someone is lying about who they are: “I’m sure there’s a lot of people out there who have lied to me, and because nothing came up in the system, I had to let them go. Justice was not served.”

“Photographs are neutral — you can’t say it’s racist when a camera is taking a neutral picture of someone,” said Rob Halverson, a Chula Vista officer.

The most active single user is a San Diego State University police officer who used his device 224 times from January to Oct. 30, 2013 — in a totally neutral manner, of course!

New York’s controversial stop-and-frisk policy showed only a 3 percent conviction rate between 2009 and 2012, according to a report by the New York Attorney General. 2,400,000 stops by the New York Police Department resulted in 150,000 arrests, but only 75,000 led to a conviction or a guilty plea. NYPD’s policy was ruled unconstitutional earlier this year, yet the administration of outgoing mayor Michael Bloomberg has filed an appeal.

Bloomberg’s term as mayor will end on Dec. 31. The newly elected mayor, Bill de Blasio, is an opponent of the policy and has pledged to replace the police chief, Ray Kelly.

“The attorney general’s report has confirmed what young men of color have known for years — that the Bloomberg administration’s stop-and-frisk crusade is targeting innocent people and is pathetically ineffective and inefficient in apprehending criminals,” New York Civil Liberties Union executive director Donna Lieberman said.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Improvements Act, promoted by Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, would both make permanent a loophole permitting the National Security Agency to search for Americans’ identifying information without a warrant.

And her proposed act might allow the FBI, the DEA and other law enforcement agencies to do the same wrong thing.
I may vote for Senator Elizabeth Warren for president and Carl DeMaio for congress in November of next year. Go Tritons — I should live so long!

— Richard Thompson

Alumnus ’83

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