Boston PD initiative

Boston PD initiative

This is a discussion on Boston PD initiative within the The Second Amendment & Gun Legislation Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Glenn Beck has been talking a bout the 2nd ammendment all week on his radio show and posted this piece written by Bob Barr about ...

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Thread: Boston PD initiative

  1. #1
    Member Array NKMG19's Avatar
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    Boston PD initiative

    Glenn Beck has been talking a bout the 2nd ammendment all week on his radio show and posted this piece written by Bob Barr about Boston PD program.

    Special Report: 2nd Amendment Under Fire

    'Safe Homes' or diminished liberty?
    By Bob Barr

    Most police officers with whom I have worked over the years, whether as a United States attorney, a lawyer in private practice, or a member of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, are men and women of integrity and commitment to the communities they serve. The vast majority of those officers have a sincere respect for the constitutional rights of the citizenry. But then again, I've not worked with the Boston Police Department.

    The police department in that Massachusetts city launched an initiative recently that exhibits a cynical disregard for the rights of the citizenry, even as it cleverly cloaks the program in language pretending to protect the people toward whom it is directed. I refer to the "Safe Homes Initiative," with its slick brochures and smooth rhetoric.

    On the surface, as with virtually all government actions diminishing liberty, the initiative appears benign. The program is "designed" to help parents who have so little control over their children that they cannot, or do not want to, search their rooms to discover if their young charges are hiding firearms in their homes. Boston's police chief graciously has agreed to fill this parental void by sending teams of officers to the homes of parents with children the police or other "community members" believe might be harboring hidden firearms. The "search teams" would then ask the parent or "other responsible adult" (whomever that might be) at the home for consent to search for guns.

    The program is problematic on several levels. First, of course, is the fact that three police officers showing up on your doorstep makes it very difficult for a parent or "other responsible adult" to say no when asked to consent to a search. This works a serious injustice to the notion that a person's home is and should remain free from government searches absent a warrant based on probable cause that a crime has been committed. While true, voluntary "consent" can validate an otherwise unlawful, warrantless search, consent born of the sort of police presence contemplated in this Boston initiative would not appear to constitute such grounds.

    While the police in Boston promise that any firearm found during such searches will not lead to criminal charges based solely on the possession of that firearm, they cleverly leave open the possibility that if the firearm was used in a crime, charges may be brought.

    Interestingly also, literature describing the initiative states that while the searching officers will do their dead level best not to damage property or create an "unnecessary mess" in the searches, there is no guarantee against that. Moreover, if other illegal items are found or seen during the search, this may lead to a resident's arrest. And while the police in Boston promise they will not "automatically notify schools or public housing" authorities if firearms have been found, they will not rule out notifying them. This could lead to families being evicted from public housing (even if the firearm was in the home for personal protection) or to children being expelled from school, both results hardly designed to improve the quality of life or education of persons living in the poorer neighborhoods targeted by this initiative.

    The bottom line is, if the police in Boston or any other city have probable cause to believe illegal firearms or other evidence of unlawful activity is located in a home, they ought to investigate and, if armed with a warrant based on probable cause, search that home. But to go through this charade of searching without securing warrants, under the guise of obtaining "consent" of persons who may or may not be the parents of a child, under the transparently false premise that nothing will happen to them if they refuse or if something unlawful is found, is unfair and constitutionally deficient.

    There's a reason such programs have not been instituted in other cities (a similar program was launched in St. Louis in the 1990s, with very mixed results before it was terminated). Boston's program is at best disingenuous and clearly corrupting of the Fourth Amendment's guarantees against warrantless searches. Let's not just hope programs like these 'get terminated' on their own. Be vigilant and stand up for your constitutional rights when they are intentionally (or unintentionally) threatened.


    Bob Barr is an attorney and former Congressman who led the impeachment trial of Bill Clinton. He is currently running for President as a Libertarian.


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    That is exactly my thoughts on their proposed warrantless charade
    "Outside of the killings, Washington has one of the lowest crime rates in the country,"
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    Member Array NKMG19's Avatar
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    I can't imagine being a LEO and having to do this fellow citizens. I would want to fight gun related crime but not like this.

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    Senior Member Array dcb188's Avatar
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    Yes, not like that. What would work better would be to have the young illegal gun holders turn in their weapons to police on their own. That would make for much safer neighborhoods. Police should never try to get guns off the street in the way proposed. Even if consent is given, it would be meaningless as it would be coerced. I would think police would have far better things to do than to try to eliminate illegal firearms like this.
    I have been on 174 ride alongs with BPD over 8 years, and have seen firsthand the results of firearms being used by thugs. But there is no doubt that without the police the violence will go away on its own, gradually. But no one will have police asking if they can search for firearms. Thank goodness. Think of it--going door to door bothering people and asking consent to look for guns. I would fight this tooth and nail.
    Last edited by dcb188; May 16th, 2008 at 10:14 AM. Reason: 3 typos
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    Senior Member Array gwhall57's Avatar
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    The Washington, DC police are trying to start a similar "safety" program. It seems like the politicians and other government officials are determined to keep chipping away at the Bill of Rights. I wonder if, in the near future, we'll hear the PD asking citizens on the street, "Your papers, please"?
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Array dcb188's Avatar
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    Well, going door to door to ask parents if their little savages have guns is hardly chipping away at anything except the possession of illegal handguns.
    There is such a thing as a consent search, which violates absolutely no provision of the Constitution. A consensual search is never an illegal search unless coerced. The parents could and would feel free to deny access. They do that now even when presented with a warrant. They are hardly intimidated by Boston Police as things stand these days.
    The problem is that these young thugs live at home and the parents cannot and do not control them. They raise themselves within their own household and the parents have zero clue as to what they keep in their bedrooms. Now, since the residence is that of the parents, not the "children", a parent can in fact validly give permission to look for firearms that are illegal.
    Re-read the initial post and look at the entire news item and see how replete it is with anti-police sentiment in general, using words like "clever" etc.
    I am firmly convinced that a majority of law abiding citizens are anti-police in some way, shape or form. What they say to the contrary does not convince me. We had a poll as to how many would show an ID to a police officer and many said oh no, and you could see the anti-police sentiment very clearly.
    So let us distinguish between consensual searches and illegal warrantless searches. And if we don't like police, then just say so, and not attack an initative like this on the basis of the Constitution. A consent search is perfectly legal. If you are stopped and police ask you hey is it okay if we look inside your trunk, buddy? And you have stuff in there and you stupidly say well YEAH, officer, and he or she finds contraband, figure it out. Are your rights violated? If you do not like police then say so honestly and directly. The original post is filled with sarcastic anti-police sentiment, and who do you think the first person Bob Barr would call if his life or property were in danger? Ghostbusters?
    I'm sorry, but let us not call consensual searches illegal, please. They are not. They never have been and they never will be. And in those high-crime areas, residents are not intimidated by Boston police, as it is they don't cooperate half the time when THEY are victims.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Array dcb188's Avatar
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    What constitutional rights are violated by a consent search?
    Do young thugs without a license to carry have the same Second Amendment right to bear arms that we do, even though they bear them illegally?
    If illegal arms, then where is the Second Amendment violated?
    If a consensual non-coerced search, where is the Constitution violated?
    If anti-police, saying so is honest and it avoids Constitutional questions that don't apply.
    Last edited by dcb188; May 16th, 2008 at 11:07 AM. Reason: typos and additions instead of 3 separate posts
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    Senior Member Array dcb188's Avatar
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    Another point is that the rent-payer or owner of dwelling has "standing" in the courts to challenge an illegal search and seizure (which the above example clearly is not). If someone is not renting a room or a house, and is in fact under the supervision of parent or parents, then his or her room is not protected because there is no reasonable expectation of privacy. That is why the parent(s) can give permission to search their son or daughter's room. The son or daughter do not have a proprietary interest in that room.
    Since the son or daughter will not give consent, then the parents can.
    And if it is not coerced, fine, no provision of the Constitution is violated.
    I mention this in case it is thought that the mere occupant of a bedroom necessarily has legal standing in court to challenge even an illegal search.
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    Distinguished Member Array Reborn's Avatar
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    Senior Member Array dcb188's Avatar
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    Wouldn't want to be a part of it as a LEO?
    What if it were a mayoral commission of three or four people, all races and backgrounds, no police, and they go door to door asking for permission to look for guns where little savages might keep them.
    Would your reactions be any different?
    Would the above Bob Barr article still have the same sarcasm in it or would he be anti-Mayor, do you think?
    Keeping in mind that guns found could still be turned over to BPD and to the DA's office for prosecution in violation of the agreement. But I would take care of that by requiring police and/or mayor's appointees to present an agreement signed by them and by owner of house or tenant, to guarantee that no one would be prosecuted.
    Would you still consider this an illegal search?
    Is it the consensual search or the police involvement that makes you react negatively?
    A consensual search has nothing to do with a warrantless search. They are apples and oranges.
    Last edited by dcb188; May 16th, 2008 at 12:25 PM. Reason: one sentence addition
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    I believe LA, Chicago and DC have all tried similar programs. I don't believe anyone of them met with much success. If they came to my door they would be turned away immediately. If they returned with a search warrant they could come in, but I know of a DA and judge that would be answering what was the "probable cause" that lead to the warrant.

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    Senior Member Array dcb188's Avatar
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    Why would you turn them away immediately? They are not demanding to come in, they are asking if it is okay to look for illegal weapons that your son might have. If you are inner-city and it is likely that your son does have one, and there is an ironclad agreement that no prosecutions would or could ensue, why would you not want to get an illegal gun off the street? You wouldn't know if your son had one or not, but if he was a gangbanger and you had no control over him, why would you not let them in to look around with your permission?
    What if it were a group of 3 civilians appointed by the Mayor and they came to your door and said, you may not have heard but there is a big big problem in this city with illegal guns? and the rest of it. Would that be different?
    And if it were police and they had a search warrant, there would be no doubt that they could and would come in, whether they were allowed in or not.
    Why do you think people do not want illegal guns sought out and found?
    Does a consent search really violate their rights? Not their constitutional rights, so what rights would it violate? Privacy? To ask you if they could come in, would that be a violation in and of itself, just asking?
    These questions are for all, not for you directly if you would rather not answer, and I ask because I am curious about what happens when we as a society have a problem, and the solution does not violate any rights at all, and yet people do not want that kind of solution in their lives, and I wondered why.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member Array dunndw's Avatar
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    The program is problematic on several levels. First, of course, is the fact that three police officers showing up on your doorstep makes it very difficult for a parent or "other responsible adult" to say no when asked to consent to a search
    Intimidation tactics to get people to submit to warrantless searches.
    You want to trust them..go for it. As for me...no warrant..no searches. Not of my home, person or car. I don't really go about giving anyone probable cause to suspect me of anything.
    It's called personal responsibility. If you can't take care of your children...find help. It is NOT the governments job to raise your kids.
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    Senior Member Array dcb188's Avatar
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    Change it to to one cop and one civilian from the Mayor's commission, both in civvies. Or two civilians from the Mayor's office. They don't have any PC and are not looking for any.
    I know about the kids but they are WAY too far gone for the parents to call them back. Impossible.
    Government does not want to raise kids, just take illegal guns away from them. I think it is great, as long as no rights are violated. And they aren't. But we each have our own reasons for not wanting to have people in our homes. A privacy issue, friends and family etc , I understand that perfectly.
    Surrounded and outnumbered, Marine Col Lewis Puller: "Good! We finally got 'em where we want 'em!" (Korea, 1950)
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    Senior Member Array dcb188's Avatar
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    Another question I have is this: Why would Boston Police want to get illegal guns off the streets?
    1. To harass property owners?
    2. To try to get in your house so they can confiscate personal property that they like?
    3. To case your house for future burglaries?
    4. Because they do not like children?
    or is it, to get an illegal gun out of circulation, WITH MOM AND DAD'S PERMISSION?
    Is this harassment? Does it run afoul of the United States Constitution?
    But although this is strictly voluntary and thus not against the Constitution in any way and unreasonable search and seizure provisions do not even apply, you like your privacy and you prefer not to know what your kid is into, and this is completely understandable, especially in the age in which we live.
    In fact it is more than just understandable, it explains a lot.
    Last edited by dcb188; May 16th, 2008 at 04:29 PM. Reason: typo, as usual
    Surrounded and outnumbered, Marine Col Lewis Puller: "Good! We finally got 'em where we want 'em!" (Korea, 1950)
    __________________________________
    Right is Wrong and Wrong is Right.
    __________________________________
    Socrates : "Knowledge is knowing that we know nothing".

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