Monday, April 27, 2015

"Law Enforcement - Leashed"

From the Times Dispatch:

Two years ago the Supreme Court put excessive faith in the alleged expertise of drug-sniffing dogs as a group. In a case in which a drug-detection dog “alerted” for one drug, but police found another, the High Court said police departments don’t need to demonstrate the reliability and accuracy of individual drug dogs.

Now the justices have made partial amends for that mistake by ruling that law-enforcement officers may not detain a motorist for the sole purpose of bringing a drug dog to the scene of a traffic stop. Once the officer has finished dealing with the matter that caused the stop (say, running a red light), then the stop is supposed to conclude and the motorist should be allowed to go on his or her way.

Once upon a time, conservatives would have decried such a ruling as an affront to law, order and perhaps even civilization itself. But the increasing militarization of law enforcement, along with several recent high-profile deaths at the hands of police officers, is leading many to reconsider their views. And why not? If you believe in limited government, and recognize that the police are a part of the government, then it stands to reason they should operate within limits, too.

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