Thursday, December 29, 2005

NJ AG: No Profiling in Terror Investigations

New Jersey's Attorney General, Peter Harvey, recently issued new, detailed guidelines that prohibit state and local law enforcement agencies from considering ethnicity and religion (i.e., Arab, Muslim) when conducting terrorism investigations. Read more about it here.

In announcing the new guidelines Harvey states that "In our zeal to protect ourselves, we cannot compromise our constitutional and privacy protections. The impermissible use of stereotypes would ultimately undermine our counterterrorism efforts by alienating significant segments of our society."

I know New Jersey has had its problems with racial profiling in the past, but not allowing law enforcement officers to use some degree of race/ethnic/religious profiling in terror investigations is down right stupid. In no way do I suggest that every person of Arab descent should be questioned or every Muslim should be watched by the police as part of a terrorism investigation. In fact, a severe majority of Arbabs and Muslims in the United States, just like a severe majority of all others living here, are law abiding citizens and residents. But any terrorism investigation needs to be broad and no tool in fighting terrorism should be left off the table. Like anything else, profiling based on race, religion, sex, age, behavior, etc. in a terrorism investigation should be conducted in a responsible manner. Eliminating it as a tool under every circumstance no matter what it is, is irresponsible.

But now that ethnic and religious profiling are off the table, Peter Harvey probably has his sights on eliminating behavioral profiling (i.e., stopping people in the subway who have a heavy winter coar on in July) next. Check out Michelle Malkin's post on that issue here, Ace of Spades' post here and Stop the ACLU's post here.

Also, check out what Peter Harvey has been up to lately (with New Jersey's tax money).

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