November 26, 2013
By Joe Wolverton, II
The New American has chronicled this dangerous trend for years and we’ve begun to notice the acceleration of the pace of DHS consolidation of control of local police departments and sheriffs offices around the country.
Financial grants earmarked for “improving homeland security” aren’t the only DHS carrot enticing cash-strapped police departments to subject themselves to federal management. DHS also uses the establishment of “buffer zones” and fusion centers to accomplish its surreptitious seizure of police forces.
It’s not enough, however, for Homeland Security to merely take control of local police. A primary focus of the plan is to enlarge the surveillance net by equipping squad cars and precincts with technology enabling them to target and track citizens whether at home or on the road.
From license plate readers to facial recognition software, from surveillance cameras to cellphone signal trackers, the Department of Homeland Security is providing police with all the gadgets, hardware, and software necessary to keep everybody under surveillance, without the targeted public ever realizing that it’s the Capitol, not the cops, that are behind the monitoring.
Local police who participate in the program will have access to a shockingly broad array of personal information of citizens. Facial recognition technology, license plate readers, and stop light camera video feeds will all be funneled to a Regional Operations Intelligence Center where FBI, police, and DHS agents can watch the live feeds.
Here are a few notices of the success of the plan as reported by local media:
This from the Long Beach (California) Press-Telegram:
The Police Department will receive a $40,954 grant from the Department of Homeland Security as reimbursement for the purchase of various law enforcement equipment over the past three years.
About $23,619 will be used on automated vehicle license plate readers, which can be portable or positioned on a squad car.
The readers scan license plates on passing vehicles and check the information against local, regional and state criminal databases. Each plate is also compared with plate numbers associated with auto thefts, felony warrants, parking violations and Amber alerts.
The Police Department has two automated readers but hasn’t decided how many new pieces of equipment to purchase, Police Chief Michael Langston said.
A total of $12,500 will be used to upgrade the security camera system at Hilltop Park, 2351 Dawson Ave., and Discovery Well, 2200 Temple Ave., the two parks in the city with a security camera system.
And this, from the Times-Tribune in Corbin, Kentucky:
During the regular monthly meeting of the Barbourville City Council, BPD Detective Steve Owens told council members that their department was tapped by the federal Office of Homeland Security.
“Basically, Homeland Security came to the Barbourville Police Department requesting an officer (to be a part of their) task force,” Owens said.
Council members were required to approve a resolution that included a “memorandum of understanding” that established the partnership between the BPD and Homeland Security.
Owens added that the designated officer would have federal investigative powers. Owens explained that if the city’s police department uncovers a crime that would lead to federal charges, that officer would be able to assist.
Owens also told council members that the city would receive a portion of any monies or property seized during the course of an investigation that leads to federal charges and/or convictions.
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