T Nation

Closer to a Police State


Just a little too much for me.

Miami Police Take New Tack Against Terror

Associated Press Writer
Nov 28 9:28 PM US/Eastern

MIAMI - Miami police announced Monday they will stage random shows of force at hotels, banks and other public places to keep terrorists guessing and remind people to be vigilant. Deputy Police Chief Frank Fernandez said officers might, for example, surround a bank building, check the IDs of everyone going in and out and hand out leaflets about terror threats.

"This is an in-your-face type of strategy. It's letting the terrorists know we are out there," Fernandez said.

The operations will keep terrorists off guard, Fernandez said. He said al-Qaida and other terrorist groups plot attacks by putting places under surveillance and watching for flaws and patterns in security.

Police Chief John Timoney said there was no specific, credible threat of an imminent terror attack in Miami. But he said the city has repeatedly been mentioned in intelligence reports as a potential target.

Timoney also noted that 14 of the 19 hijackers who took part in the Sept. 11 attacks lived in South Florida at various times and that other alleged terror cells have operated in the area.

Both uniformed and plainclothes police will ride buses and trains, while others will conduct longer-term surveillance operations.

"People are definitely going to notice it," Fernandez said. "We want that shock. We want that awe. But at the same time, we don't want people to feel their rights are being threatened. We need them to be our eyes and ears."

Howard Simon, executive director of ACLU of Florida, said the Miami initiative appears aimed at ensuring that people's rights are not violated.

"What we're dealing with is officers on street patrol, which is more effective and more consistent with the Constitution," Simon said. "We'll have to see how it is implemented."

Mary Ann Viverette, president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, said the Miami program is similar to those used for years during the holiday season to deter criminals at busy places such as shopping malls.

"You want to make your presence known and that's a great way to do it," said Viverette, police chief in Gaithersburg, Md. "We want people to feel they can go about their normal course of business, but we want them to be aware."



I hate the idea of a police state as much as the next guy, but I guess I just am not as afraid of my local peace force as I ought to be, because I didn't find any part of that article to be particularly frightening or offensive. Which part of the plan concerns you the most?


I think this is a good thing.


Surrounding a bank or hotel and asking for ID's from everyone. If I didn't do anything wrong, then don't ask for my ID. If I lived in Florida, I would be pulling a Thoreau-vian Civil Disobediance every time, and refusing to show them anything.

The general idea of this is just very disconcerting to me.


This scares you?

Even the ACLU was non-plussed.


Yea I read that. Screw'em. Their too busy trying to get the word "Christmas" stricken from the phrase "Christmas Tree" to worry about something like this I guess.

It just seems all very....Un- American I guess. Certain founding fathers would have a serious problem with random ID checks I think.


You didn't find anything bothersome about this:

"Deputy Police Chief Frank Fernandez said officers might, for example, surround a bank building, check the IDs of everyone going in and out and hand out leaflets about terror threats.

This is an in-your-face type of strategy. It's letting the terrorists know we are out there," Fernandez said."

This is one step from those same officers (or feds) frisking you as you enter a bank or shopping mall. Would that bother you?

Is that next logical step in "good proactive Police work?"

If any officer ever asks me for an ID they had better have something called "reasonable suspicion." If not they will be in for a very difficult court battle. AND I might not be complying with that order.

This is bull!

Come on wake up man!

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both."

Benjamin Franklin


Founding fathers would be shocked our government has lasted so long.


Again you surprsise me Zeb. But I agree. It might not be this step that you don't like, but when they take one, there are few there to stop them from taking more. It's called the "erosion of rights". Not "stripping"- erosion happens far slower. But has the same end result.


Definately agree with Irish and Zeb. Small steps like this are dangerous because they raise little opposition. But as these accumulate the overall chage can be drastic and in 50 yrs people may not even remember how we got their.

The other thing that occurs to me is that this is a really stupid way to fight terrorism. Are the terrorists going to stop an attack on the off chance that the Miami police might randomly show up? These cells are small and flexible with their plans. They can simply find another target or go to a different city. In fact, reports I've read about terrorist casing techniques suggests that they often have back up targets planned.

I think intelligence and surveillance should be the priorities, not a random show of force. We already have a large military and police force in this nation. That is not our weakness.


I swear, a little shack in North Idaho and enough guns to fend off a small army sounds better and better everyday. I know that may sound a little paranoid but this is exactly how shit starts...little by little.


haha. very true


True. But on the other side of the coin, small steps accumulate and overlap to protect us. I would rather go visit a miami club or two and still not have to worry about breathing.


I have to say I totally agree with ZEB. Things like this are very easy to let go. Then they try something else, squeeze a little tighter, take away one more little right. You never used that one, right?

It's like the government is a horny teen, and the American pubic is the shy girl on a date. The horny teen tries holding the girl's hand; that works and he becomes bolder. He tries kissing, she lets that go, so he tries some tongue action. Then grabbing a titty outside the shirt, then inside the shirt, then inside the bra.

Each action prvides an incentive to try going for the next one. If we don't draw the line somewhere, we'll end up pregnant and alone with the only result: miscarriages of justice.


Zeb, the police have the right to ask anyone just about anything they want to ask. They can say "Hey, Zeb, where do you think you're walking this late at night?" And you can say "None of your business," and keep walking. They can also request an ID, the same way I can request an ID. The tricky part is that there is implied "force of law" there; yet most of us realize that we do not have to consent to car searches, for example.

I don't see this as being very effective, if nothing else. Putting a large number of police officers on the street to "show force" is a symptom, not a cure.


lol@peace force


If you guys read the article, the whole idea behind this is to break up patterns in security that terrorists supposedly use to plan their attacks. The thinking here is no pattern = no attack. There's just one problem with this idea...

It's retarded.

Marching around and harrassing people is not "good security", it's annoying. The only time a cop needs to see my ID is if I am proving I am old enough to drink a beer, or if I was driving too fast. Otherwise, I let them know that I am not carrying my ID at the time and to have a nice day. The fact that I might be standing in line at a store does not give any authority figure the right to search me or bother me until martial law is declared.

You have to wonder if there is something more to the story here. Is somebody having to justify a budget for a large sedentary police force somewhere in the Miami area? Is this just "busy work" to make it seem like all those police are getting something accomplished, or a way to get more money because they need more cops to "stop terrorism"? Hmmm...

To all the folks who think that this is a beginning sign of a fascist America:

Wake up. You are forgetting who the kings and who the servants are here. This isn't our freedoms eroding, this is some idiot public servant in a police station somewhere trying to appeal to a voter base or get more money... maybe both. What? You expected a politician to make sense somehow? LOL


No, but I expected you to realize that regardless of where it starts...in the office of some overpaid public servant or elsewhere, the end result could be the same. There is no reason why anyone should be ok with random searches for no reason.

Eventually, if enough people are "OK" with actions like this, it will be that much easier for even more of our rights to be taken away. Your kids will see less and less wrong with it considering the attitude was always a part of their life. 100 years down the road, it will too far gone to ever get back all because enough people just didn't give a shit when it began.


For a change, I absolutely 100% agree with Zeb!

What's the world coming to?


Boo Hoo, give me a break. If you have nothing to hide don't worry. It's just like being stopped at a DUI checkpoint. Did you do anything wrong? Nope. Is it illegal to refuse to render your state ID? Yep. If your asked for ID you have to surrender it, as shitty as it sounds you do.

All that cop has to do is say he has a reason to believe you resemble so and so who has a warrant for his arrest. I mean c'mon, you actually feel threatened at a PROACTIVE response to terrorsim as opposed to a REACTIVE?