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Law enforcement has secret database on Minnesota citizens

by The Big E on February 28, 2012

Minnesota law enforcement agencies are compiling data on MN citizens for anything they deem “suspicious.” The only problem is that this database is secret. I don’t know about you, but secret databases like this make me paranoid.

I’ll let Rich Neumeister tell the story:

Part of the [Minnesota Joint Analysis Center] MNJAC/Fusion Center responsibilities is to develop a process for doing “suspicious activity reports” (SARS) to be shared with Federal agencies and Minnesota state/local law enforcement entities.  MNJAC has been involved in training law enforcement personnel throughout the state in how to do these reports.

A “suspicious activity report” as defined by MNJAC, “means—any reported behavior or activity that may result in the reasonable suspicion that a crime has occurred, could occur or is being planned.”  Local and state law enforcement throughout Minnesota are starting to implement SARS.
(Open Secrets)

The idea behind this is fine. I’m all for all levels of law enforcement sharing information. I think we all learned the lesson that sharing amongst law enforcement agencies is good.

Its just that secrecy thing.

In the first ever audit of MNJAC’s SARS, raises issues and concerns also.  Approximately 10% of the cases reviewed did not meet their definition of “reasonable suspicion”.  The audit was done on files that MNJAC had 3 years ago.  The sampling of cases was small.

Local police departments and Sheriffs throughout Minnesota are beginning to do SARS.  What is their public accountability and reporting?  How about robust independent auditing?

As previously mentioned, MNJAC SARS are not available to the public as MPR reports, public safety commissioner quietly restricted so-called “suspicious-activity reports” from public scrutiny.  On the local level, Bloomington Police has done a similar declaration.  The Minnesota Department of Public Safety declaration to restrict public from access is as follows: http://minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2011/09/documents/dps-directive.pdf

Since the Clowns Republicans couldn’t care less about turning Minnesota into a police state, we’ll once again have to rely on Gov. Dayton to either force the Clowns Republicans to amend HF2435 by threatening to veto it if they don’t.

We need Gov. Dayton to make sure that the data is public and there is oversight of the SARS database.

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