Friday, January 07, 2005

When is an electronic scan not a search?

In school, apparently, says Dallas ISD.

Big Brother police tactics are expensive, intrusive, and from a cost-benefit perspective, offer little comparative gain to traditional investigative techniques. This morning's email affords a prime example. DRC Net reports that Dallas ISD has started to use,
Trace scanners, [which are] devices which pick up microscopic traces of substances, are typically found in airports, where they search for explosives, and in prisons, where they are used to detect traces of illegal drugs on visitors (who are then banned from visiting), but they have also found a home in the Dallas Independent School District, which has become the nation's first to use them to find drugs and drug users in its classrooms and hallways.
Come on, don't these priggish bureaucrats have anything better to do? Predictably, DISD
"didn't come up with much for its efforts, conceded district police force head Scott Lindsay. Before the sweep, officials suspected the school was awash in cocaine, he told the Morning News, but the scans turned up mostly marijuana, and on only five percent of the students." I wonder what they did to those 5%?

Here's the really bogus part: "School officials and Trace Detection alike portrayed the program as less of a law enforcement tool and more of a way to improve drug prevention and education. As Trace president Gary Pfeltz noted, 'Under the law, schools need only reasonable suspicion to search a student, and this one way they can do it,' he said. 'But we found there is more interest in this for education. That also happens to be where the federal funds are.' "

That jerk is saying that using an electronic device to check for microscopic particles of drugs doesn't constitute a "search," but just a method of garnering "reasonable suspicion." What a crock. If that's the crackpot theory DISD is operating under, they may be in for a big surprise the first time they try to prosecute somebody based on this junk. Then again, the US Supreme Court may soon decide that using a dog to sniff for pot isn't a search, so maybe I'm being naive and the Fourth Amendment has already been tossed out the window.

Did I miss a memo?

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