Sunday, February 10, 2008

Land of liberty?

"We're going to be swabbing people we arrest," stated Daytona Beach Police Chief Mike Chitwood.

The police in Daytona Beach FL believe they have a serial killer in their midst. In the past couple of years, four women have been murdered in similar circumstances. While their diligence in trying to solve the cases is more than appreciated by the general public, their newest plan to assist their search has come under fire.

In hopes of finding a suspect, the police in Daytona Beach and several other surrounding agencies will soon be asking men who have been arrested, for a DNA sample. They will be asking men who have been arrested for violent crimes, drunk driving and what few people realize...... any crime they can imagine. That woulsd include any arrest that allows the police to put handcuffs on a suspect from violent crimes to indecient exposure, trespassing, jay walking or littering.

Daytona Beach Police Chief Mike Chitwood has stated that he is anxious to establish a strong DNA database within their department to help in solving crimes. This plan could aid in solving the four murders as well as future crimes and he feels asking suspects for a swab will rapidly expand their database.

Public Defender James Purdy has stated that regardless of whether arrested suspects give their permission for a DNA swab, the plan is outrageous. He feels that the stress brought on by an arrest can cloud a person's ability to distinguish between a requirement by law and a request by an officer.

Purdy stated that the perception by most people is that if they don't voluntarily give DNA or anything else an officer requests, they could be percieved as guilty. He added that the Legislature states that DNA can only only be collected for certain violent crimes.

"Your right to privacy is more important than the government's need to know," stated James Purdy.

It may sound like a good plan or even a needed plan in view of the unsolved murders of four women but where exactly will the Daytona Beach police draw the line? Some question how many arrests for minor offenses will be made in an effort to expand their database. Will this new plan allow and encourage the police to come knocking on the doors of "suspects" that their neighbors have called in tips about or will there be a sudden surge in jay walking tickets?

I have always believed that the U S was founded on basic freedoms and liberties....... this plan sounds like another dark extension of what used to be the methods of other countries. Many of these new restrictions being applied to us as citizens are being spoon-fed to us under the guise of "homeland security", such as a national driver's license, a need for a passport........ what next? Will we need special papers to travel between states? I agree with James Purdy.... we can't let a rush to solve criminal cases trample our liberites.

Of note, additional resource: "Arrested? Guilty or not, police want your DNA" by Lyda Longa @ news-journalonline

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