Police to search for guns in homes
Firearm & Gun Forum - FireArmsTalk.com > General Firearms Forums > Legal and Activism > Police to search for guns in homes

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 11-18-2007, 01:43 AM   #1
bkt
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 6,973
Liked 1305 Times on 664 Posts
Likes Given: 151

Default Police to search for guns in homes

Curious what y'all think about this.


Police to search for guns in homes
By Maria Cramer
Globe Staff / November 17, 2007

Boston police are launching a program that will call upon parents in high-crime neighborhoods to allow detectives into their homes, without a warrant, to search for guns in their children's bedrooms.

The program, which is already raising questions about civil liberties, is based on the premise that parents are so fearful of gun violence and the possibility that their own teenagers will be caught up in it that they will turn to police for help, even in their own households.

In the next two weeks, Boston police officers who are assigned to schools will begin going to homes where they believe teenagers might have guns. The officers will travel in groups of three, dress in plainclothes to avoid attracting negative attention, and ask the teenager's parent or legal guardian for permission to search. If the parents say no, police said, the officers will leave.

If officers find a gun, police said, they will not charge the teenager with unlawful gun possession, unless the firearm is linked to a shooting or homicide.

The program was unveiled yesterday by Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis in a meeting with several community leaders.

"I just have a queasy feeling anytime the police try to do an end run around the Constitution," said Thomas Nolan, a former Boston police lieutenant who now teaches criminology at Boston University. "The police have restrictions on their authority and ability to conduct searches. The Constitution was written with a very specific intent, and that was to keep the law out of private homes unless there is a written document signed by a judge and based on probable cause. Here, you don't have that."

Critics said they worry that some residents will be too intimidated by a police presence on their doorstep to say no to a search.

"Our biggest concern is the notion of informed consent," said Amy Reichbach, a racial justice advocate at the American Civil Liberties Union. "People might not understand the implications of weapons being tested or any contraband being found."

But Davis said the point of the program, dubbed Safe Homes, is to make streets safer, not to incarcerate people.

"This isn't evidence that we're going to present in a criminal case," said Davis, who met with community leaders yesterday to get feedback on the program. "This is a seizing of a very dangerous object. . . .

"I understand people's concerns about this, but the mothers of the young men who have been arrested with firearms that I've talked to are in a quandary," he said. "They don't know what to do when faced with the problem of dealing with a teenage boy in possession of a firearm. We're giving them an option in that case."

But some activists questioned whether the program would reduce the number of weapons on the street.

A criminal whose gun is seized can quickly obtain another, said Jorge Martinez, executive director of Project Right, who Davis briefed on the program earlier this week.

"There is still an individual who is an impact player who is not going to change because you've taken the gun from the household," he said.


The program will focus on juveniles 17 and younger and is modeled on an effort started in 1994 by the St. Louis Police Department, which stopped the program in 1999 partly because funding ran out.

Police said they will not search the homes of teenagers they suspect have been involved in shootings or homicides and who investigators are trying to prosecute.

"In a case where we have investigative leads or there is an impact player that we know has been involved in serious criminal activity, we will pursue investigative leads against them and attempt to get into that house with a search warrant, so we can hold them accountable," Davis said.

Police will rely primarily on tips from neighbors. They will also follow tips from the department's anonymous hot line and investigators' own intelligence to decide what doors to knock on. A team of about 12 officers will visit homes in four Dorchester and Roxbury neighborhoods: Grove Hall, Bowdoin Street and Geneva Avenue, Franklin Hill and Franklin Field, and Egleston Square.

If drugs are found, it will be up to the officers' discretion whether to make an arrest, but police said modest amounts of drugs like marijuana will simply be confiscated and will not lead to charges.

"A kilo of cocaine would not be considered modest," said Elaine Driscoll, Davis's spokeswoman. "The officers that have been trained have been taught discretion."

The program will target young people whose parents are either afraid to confront them or unaware that they might be stashing weapons, said Davis, who has been trying to gain support from community leaders for the past several weeks.

One of the first to back him was the Rev. Jeffrey L. Brown, cofounder of the Boston TenPoint Coalition, who attended yesterday's meeting.

"What I like about this program is it really is a tool to empower the parent," he said. "It's a way in which they can get a hold of the household and say, 'I don't want that in my house.' "

Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, whose support was crucial for police to guarantee there would be no prosecution, also agreed to back the initiative. "To me it's a preventive tool," he said.

Boston police officials touted the success of the St. Louis program's first year, when 98 percent of people approached gave consent and St. Louis police seized guns from about half of the homes they searched.

St. Louis police reassured skeptics by letting them observe searches, said Robert Heimberger, a retired St. Louis police sergeant who was part of the program.

"We had parents that invited us back, and a couple of them nearly insisted that we take keys to their house and come back anytime we wanted," he said.

But the number of people who gave consent plunged in the next four years, as the police chief who spearheaded the effort left and department support fell, according to a report published by the National Institute of Justice.

Support might also have flagged because over time police began to rely more on their own intelligence than on neighborhood tips, the report said.

Heimberger said the program also suffered after clergy leaders who were supposed to offer help to parents never appeared.

"I became frustrated when I'd get the second, or third, or fourth phone call from someone who said, 'No one has come to talk to me,' " he said. Residents "lost faith in the program and that hurt us."

Boston police plan to hold neighborhood meetings to inform the public about the program. Police are also promising follow-up visits from clergy or social workers, and they plan to allow the same scrutiny that St. Louis did.

"We want the community to know what we're doing," Driscoll said.

Ronald Odom - whose son, Steven, 13, was fatally shot last month as he walked home from basketball practice - was at yesterday's meeting and said the program is a step in the right direction. "Everyone talks about curbing violence," he said, following the meeting. ". . . This is definitely a head start."

__________________
bkt is offline  
 
Reply With Quote

Join FirearmsTalk.com Today - It's Free!

Are you a firearms enthusiast? Then we hope you will join the community. You will gain access to post, create threads, private message, upload images, join groups and more.

Firearms Talk is owned and operated by fellow firearms enthusiasts. We strive to offer a non-commercial community to learn and share information.

Join FirearmsTalk.com Today! - Click Here


Old 11-18-2007, 08:29 PM   #2
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 4,900
Liked 2058 Times on 827 Posts
Likes Given: 2706

Default

I see this is just a small stepping stone to bigger things

__________________
opaww is offline  
 
Reply With Quote
Old 11-18-2007, 10:19 PM   #3
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
allmons's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Athens
Posts: 364
Angry Terrifying

This is proactive "policing", reminiscent of "1984". Will we NEVER learn? Whoever proposed this program should be arrested for sedition!

__________________

Fire everyone in Congress NOW.


Last edited by allmons; 11-19-2007 at 01:41 PM.
allmons is offline  
 
Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2007, 08:28 PM   #4
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Chuck's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 286
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by allmons View Post
This is proactive "policing", reminiscent of "1984". Will we NEVER learn? Whoever proposed this program should be arrested for sedition!

At the very least, tarred and feathered. I'll bet Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, John Hancock, and the rest of the Sons of Liberty are rolling in their graves.
__________________
WARNING: CZs MAY BE HABIT-FORMING.
Consult your doctor if nursing or pregnant.

Member GCO

Last edited by Chuck; 11-20-2007 at 08:36 PM.
Chuck is offline  
 
Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2007, 08:43 PM   #5
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
pioneer461's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 938
Liked 27 Times on 22 Posts
Likes Given: 7

Default

This is a terrible idea. I was a cop for 30 years, and I would never give the police permission to search without a warrant. The 4th Amendment protects us from unreasonable searches and seizures, and there have been cases, depending on circumstances, where it was ruled that the parents can not give permission to search a child's room.

__________________
Sui Juris
Cogito, ergo armatum sum
NRA Life Member / SAF Member
Retired Police Detective '71-'01 / LEOSA Certified
Naval Aviation Veteran '65-'69

United States Constitution (c) 1791
All Rights Reserved
pioneer461 is offline  
 
Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2007, 09:51 PM   #6
bkt
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Rochester, NY
Posts: 6,973
Liked 1305 Times on 664 Posts
Likes Given: 151

Default

I agree with everyone so far.

What do you think of people who would give up their rights whether out of fear, intimidation or ignorance? Got any sympathy for those folks?

__________________
bkt is offline  
 
Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2007, 11:59 PM   #7
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Chuck's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 286
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by bkt View Post
I agree with everyone so far.

What do you think of people who would give up their rights whether out of fear, intimidation or ignorance? Got any sympathy for those folks?
None. It is Darwinian and they are at the bottom of the food chain.
__________________
WARNING: CZs MAY BE HABIT-FORMING.
Consult your doctor if nursing or pregnant.

Member GCO
Chuck is offline  
 
Reply With Quote
Old 11-22-2007, 12:32 AM   #8
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
hillbilly68's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 1,000
Liked 2 Times on 2 Posts

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by bkt View Post
Police will rely primarily on tips from neighbors. They will also follow tips from the department's anonymous hot line and investigators' own intelligence to decide what doors to knock on.
Oh this is just wonderful. What is happening to us? (Informed)Consent to search is one thing... WHen I first started to read the article I thought the program was going to be predicated on requests from parents asking for the searches, not a "knock, knock, hi we are here to search your house, you mind?" If it works like it does on the highway, a "no" simply delays the process. Since most of us are law abiding and are guilty of nothing more than not having the fortitude to say "no" because it may be perceived that we are "hiding something" we consent without a second thought. Its like the man said, this is just the beginning. Cradle to grave, the "state" will provide....EVERYTHING.

regards
__________________
hillbilly68 is offline  
 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2008, 05:54 PM   #9
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 199
Liked 6 Times on 5 Posts
Likes Given: 4

Default search

Observation of possible contraban (weapons or drugs) by a third person plus "suspicious or unusual behavior" (which can mean simply saying no) of the person answering the door is grounds enough for the police to enter and search your property under "probable cause". Anything seized can't be used against you in any legal process due to lack of a warrant, but you'll play hell getting it back. It's surprising how often the line "if you don't have anything to hide, you shouldn't object" is used.
This isn't a slam on the police; they do a tough job that frankly I wouldn't do. They are just following procedure and enforcing laws passed by the politicians.

__________________
crossfire is offline  
 
Reply With Quote
Old 01-02-2008, 06:11 PM   #10
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
MarkoPo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Hillsdale,Michigan
Posts: 135
Default

Parents need to man up and search their own kid's room. If I thought my son had an illegal gun you can be sure I would tear his room apart myself, same with any illegal drugs. IF these parents are too scared to enter their children's room, they are the ones who need help. First the authorities search lockers, then backpacks, then came the metal detectors. Oh and don't forget give a friend an aspirin for a headache you will get expelled. Now let's go to their homes and go through their rooms? I would almost place a wager that the corrupt school systems are behind this outrage in some way.

__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by billdeserthills View Post
Want to be safe - Learn to take some responsibility for your own safety!
Proud NRA member
MarkoPo is offline  
 
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Firearms Forum Replies Last Post
Armed police have fired their guns more times by mistake than in the line of duty. sculker The Club House 6 10-31-2011 05:56 PM
Search curly45 The Club House 1 02-25-2009 05:40 PM
Police Guns? iheartguns Semi-Auto Handguns 14 05-23-2008 07:01 PM
Tent city highlights US homes crisis Quasi The Club House 26 04-04-2008 03:05 AM