Archive for January 5th, 2005

Are Police Watching Your Home?

Wednesday, January 5th, 2005

We've all read about oppressive governments, about how the police shadow its citizens, even staking out their homes to watch for any suspect activities.

What if you were to learn that this is being done in the United States today — and it is being encouraged by the federal government? Not possible, you say? Not in this country? The following endorsement of the practice is taken verbatum from the official website of the President's National Commission Against Drunk Driving:

"Persistent drinking drivers have not responded to the threat of legal sanctions or to prevention activities. In order to help curb the traffic safety problem posed by this group of drivers each state should develop a comprehensive system with key features aimed at deterring the persistent drinking driver….

"Special enforcement campaigns, such as developing a "Hot List" of repeat DUI offenders or the "Stakeout" of people who have lost their license due to a DUI conviction should help to detect future violations and reduce impaired driving…..A few states have implemented "stakeout" programs to check if DUI offenders are driving. Police watch the homes of the offenders, usually at times when they would be leaving and returning from work. If they are caught driving, they are arrested. Publicizing these campaigns may increase the perceived likelihood of apprehension and result in better compliance with the law."

Local police agencies are apparently taking the Presidential Commission up on this. The following is from an April 5, 2004, Associated Press story about LAPD entitled "Cops Stake Out Homes of Drunken Drivers":

"Disturbed by soaring drunken driving accidents, police officers are now staking out the homes of habitual DUI motorists to catch them violating conditions of their probation.

"A task force of five San Fernando Valley officers who wait for hours, sometimes days, outside homes have made 18 arrests for probation violations since the novel tactic began in December, officials said. The program is being expanded citywide this week."

I suppose there are a number of reactions to this. One, certainly, is, "Whatever it takes to get them off the road". Another might be, "Is this really an efficient allocation of limited police resources?" A third, hopefully: "But where does it stop? If for DUI today, for what tommorrow? Do we really want the police watching our homes, waiting for us to make a mistake?"

 
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