The Tampa Bay Times has the scoop on a new surveillance plan in Pasco County, Florida. The Sheriff’s Department there is targeting people for enhanced police scrutiny based on what it claims is an “unbiased, evidence-based risk assessment designed to identify prolific offenders in our community.”
“As a result of this designation,” the Sheriff’s office warns targeted residents, “we will go to great efforts to encourage change in your life through enhanced support and increased accountability.”
Naturally, there’s a federal lawsuit.
Indeed, last year, the paper reports, “a Tampa Bay Times investigation revealed that the Sheriff’s Office creates lists of people it considers likely to break the law based on criminal histories, social networks and other unspecified intelligence. The agency sends deputies to their homes repeatedly, often without a search warrant or probable cause for an arrest.” In addition, there’s “a separate program that uses schoolchildren’s grades, attendance records and abuse histories to label them potential future criminals.”
To rub salt in the wound, the Sheriff’s Office has a video telling the program’s victims of increased harassment that inclusion is “good news” because it will give them opportunities to receive “assistance”. A hint of what that looks like comes in its letter to the surveilled, which warns, “Our desire to help you will not hinder us from holding you fully accountable for your choices and actions,” and promises that recipients’ names and criminal histories with get sent to local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to ensure “the highest level of accountability” for any future crimes they commit.
Spotted via Crooks & Liars’s Susie Madrak, Dept. Of Pre-Crime: Florida Sheriff Harassing Pre-Criminals — What could possibly go wrong, other than civil rights violations?. Photo Licensed via Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License by Fabius Maximus Blog