It was billed as the “launch” of “the first-ever law enforcement app for Loudoun County.”
It shouldn’t have ever been launched.
By way of background, this app is “available on the iTunes App Store (IOS) and Google Play (Android)” and “will allow “users” who download this app, according to the Sheriff’s release, “to be able to submit crime tips anonymously, including the ability to send photos and videos from their smartphone.”
You may wonder what the Sheriff means by a “tip.”
Well, the Sheriff confirmed it’s not a “crime in progress.”
Without any standards whatsoever, citizens are being invited to say what they think is “suspicious,” based doubtlessly on incomplete information, little or no investigative experience, personal bias, rumors, overheard conversations, maybe even an unconsented taped conversation, and, finally, by forwarding this “packet” of “tip” text, with accompanying stills, audio and video documents – all done anonymously.
This “first ever” initiative is like the “Sound of Music” come to Loudoun – inviting us to mimic the misbehavior of that Nazi twit who turns in his girlfriend’s Von Trapp family.
We have tried before having something like a Stasi volunteer network.
After 9-11, the federal government invited us one and all to rat out “suspicious” neighbors or “strangers.”
But 95% of those “tips” turned out to be nothing at all.
Worse, it is daunting to imagine our Sheriff’s Department having the wherewithal to consider whether these anonymous tipsters have an axe to grind, a motive to hurt or slander another, or whether they are just plain reckless.
Other communities have recoiled at such law enforcement techniques. In Boston, the community started wearing t-shirts that read, “Stop Snitchin’.’” Continue reading