Good Idea or Violation of Fourth Amendment?

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NYPD Commissioner says department  will begin testing  a new high-tech device that scans for concealed  weapons

NY Post: Get ready for scan-and-frisk. The NYPD will soon deploy new technology allowing police to detect guns  carried by criminals without using the typical pat-down procedure, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Wednesday.

The department just received a machine that reads terahertz — the natural  energy emitted by people and inanimate objects — and allows police to view  concealed weapons from a distance. “If something is obstructing the flow of that radiation, for example a weapon, the device will highlight that object,” Kelly said.

A video image aired at a Police Foundation breakfast Wednesday showed an  officer, clad in a New York Jets jersey and jeans, with the shape of a hidden  gun clearly visible under his clothing when viewed through the device.

The department will begin testing the high-tech device for use on the street. The device is small enough to be placed in a police vehicle or stationed  at a street corner where gunplay has occurred in the past.

Kelly, who first discussed the possibility of using this technology last  year, said the NYPD has been working with the London Metropolitan Police and a  contractor “to develop a tool that meets our requirements.” “We took delivery of it last week,” Kelly said at the gathering at the  Waldorf Astoria. “One of our requirements was that the technology must be  portable.”

“We still have a number of trials to run before we can determine how best to deploy this technology. We’re also talking to our legal staff about this. But we’re very pleased with the progress we’ve made over the past year.”

The New York Civil Liberties Union last year raised concerns about “virtual  pat downs,” and some security experts have said false positives could lead to  unjustified stops.

I’m not sure about this. Seems to me it violates our Fourth Amendment:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The Fourth Amendment was intended to create a constitutional buffer between U.S. citizens and the intimidating power of law enforcement. It has three components. First, it establishes a privacy interest by recognizing the right of U.S. citizens to be “secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects.” Second, it protects this privacy interest by prohibiting searches and seizures that are “unreasonable” or are not authorized by a warrant based upon probable cause. Third, it states that no warrant may be issued to a law enforcement officer unless that warrant describes with particularity “the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

I thought the TSA scanners violated our Fourth Amendment too yet that didn’t stop the federal government from implementing them anyway.

What do you think?

DCG

10 responses to “Good Idea or Violation of Fourth Amendment?

  1. Like everything else it will have its issues in the beginning, but if a copper can see that a person he is approching is armed he can deal with the situation faster than they can now,, it could work at the school entrance like a metal detector does, on a street corner where gang or crimnal types loiter, it would be a exellent tool to get guns away from the bad guys, So go for it, the only people that should fear this are the ones that put themselfs in the presence of the police.

    • No offense , but you seem to overlook one possibility . What about legal c.c.w. owners in N.Y.C…? I realize they are few in number . Do they not have rights ? Just another way of trading security for freedom !
      As an aside , don’t you just love that line in the 2nd. paragraph about obstructing the ” FLOW OF RADIATION “….?

  2. further dangerous erosion of rights

  3. It’s not a “real search”. it can’t show the exact nature of the item. Consequently, the police can only “suspect” it’s a weapon or it could be something entirely different. It could be something like a stapler, a hose nozzle, or even a small air wrench.
    Either case would involve a regular pat down and if the search came up negative, the police would look silly as usual.

  4. This smacks of stops on the street by Gestapo.

  5. Cuomo has the backing of police union leadership. I believe this devise to be an overreaching power of the Police State of the Progressive Government control. Full body scanners are being pulled due to cancer clusters “popping up” around airport hubs. Do we hear this in the “media”?

  6. According to our constitution (if indeed we ever had one) there are two ‘legal’ ways to take out the Satanic monsters running our government. One is through litigation the other agitation. The 2nd Amendment was meant to guarantee the others stayed viable.

    Whine, cry, gnash one’s teeth, and calling them bad names will NOT suffice. They will continue to feed the military/industrial/corporate complex with all the money they can falsely print up to invent all these weapons and tools of oppression.

    If Jesus smacked the loan sharks in his day, are we to not follow his example?

  7. Does any one remember when cops sat with radar guns on their laps in the squad car waiting for speeders? Well if these omit or use some form of radar to scan, they will end up with testicular cancer like those other cops did. Pay back is a bitch. Not to mention a obvious violation of the 4th amendment

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