This Week’s Mtg: Police Power – To Protect And Serve?

This was Pete’s idea growing out of his experience with Occupy San Diego.  I think we can expand it to also cover the hrowth of police power throughout law enforcement, including charges that it has been militarized since 9/11.

I’ll do a quick opening that covers two topics:

  1. The expansion of police search and other powers over the last 30 years.
  2. How the post-9/11 anti-terrorist tools have migrated into being used in regular criminal cases.  The extent to which this has happened is quite striking.   We really didn’t cover this in our discussion of lost civil liberties since 9/11 (this meeting), because I kind of kept us focused on the catching-terrorist activities like NSA wiretapping and national security letters.

Following this brief intro, I’ll open it up to Pete for any views he has on how all of this has culminated in the responses nationwide to the Occupy movements.


  1. Do the police have and do they use new powers to investigate crimes?  How uniformly are these powers used, or are they applied in a discriminatory fashion?
  2. What effects have these changes had; e.g., on the crime rate, on personal freedoms, on minority communities?
  3. Does the public support these new methods?  Why?
  4. Whose interests do the police serve?  How do you know this?
  5. What should and can be done about this problem, if indeed it is a problem?



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