Drones and the Safety-Security Debate

Soon to come to a neighborhood near you — drones.

[See http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505263_162-57409759/drone-use-in-the-u.s-raises-privacy-concerns/]

With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan winding down, defense contractors are looking for new markets and it looks like they’ve got a great domestic market here in our fear-driven nation.

This will, no doubt, intensify the question many of us had since September 11, 2001 — how much freedom are we willing to give up in order to feel safe? After all, doesn’t that drive why we spy on Americans who practice Islam? Perhaps it was even in Mr. Rassmussen’s mind when he felt so threatened as to take Trayvon Martin’s life? Though we like to deny it, I think we are a fearful nation today. And fear doesn’t help us live together as one nation.

My book talks about community policing and good cops. Because police are enmeshed in the on-going struggle between safety and security, they must be the ones to begin the conversation. What do we want? Free-floating guns? Castle-defenses? Unwarranted stops and searches? If we accept video cameras on every corner, will we also accept “spies in the skies” — drone surveillance?

I expect police leaders to initiate these discussions. To be silent is not an option.

Read more about the kind of police we need to assure not only our safety — but also our fundamental freedoms.

You can find Arrested Development: A Veteran Police Chief Sounds Off About Protest, Racism, Corruption, and the Seven Steps Necessary to Improve Our Nation’s Police at: http://www.amazon.com/Arrested-Development-Veteran-Corruption-Necessary/dp/1470102560/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1335197097&sr=8-1 or a local bookstore near you.