U.S. Marshals conduct Blitzkrieg compliance checks on remote Missouri farm
PART III: Going forward
By Erik . . . That which does not kill you will only makes you stronger, and there are lessons to be gleaned from every experience, even the most negative. In that vein and to that purpose, here are my key takeaways:
- The intensification of sweeps here in Missouri are here to stay and pose an ever-increasing threat to registrants;
- The Marshals are promulgating false and populist disinformation, both to their own personnel and to local law enforcement;
- The operational-level law enforcement officers passionately believe the disinformation and thus are inherently more aggressive and dangerous.
So, having gone full circle, I am back at the beginning and ask, first, has anyone else observed a significant increase in their state regarding these sweeps over the past two to three years?
As for the second question(s), let me quickly insert my own conjecture. While I never was a cop, I was in the Marines for 22 years and can guess as to how these task forces are created. First, they are staffed with a request for volunteers. This means that the ones wanting to be part of this have, almost assuredly, already formed negative opinions about persons on the registry, the danger they pose, and what is needed to keep them at bay. Any subsequent training will only act as confirmation bias.
Next will be the training. This should not be confused with technical or corporate training. This “training” will be done in one day and completed using three or four haphazard PowerPoint presentations along with a data sheet. There might even be a short quiz at the end.
Lastly, there will be a cool name, like “Operation Chomonator,” or something equally obtuse, that is supposed to capture the public’s imagination, convey the noble purpose of the unit, and will sound good in sound-bites.
Now they are ready to go out and save America by thumping rapists and child molesters.
My second question is this: Does anyone have any insight as to what the Marshal’s source documents are or how they are presenting their training?
In the hopes that the broad reach of NARSOL will find someone who can answer “yes,” I suppose the more important follow up question is: Can we influence this data to reflect facts?
It would also be interesting to know whether the practice of no one wearing their bodycams, no one wearing their name tapes, no one identifying themselves on the team and so forth, are all part of the overall strategy, or if this is left to the individual teams’ discretion? Perhaps more importantly, are the team members instructed that basic Miranda-style rights are not applicable to sex offenders? So, instead of advising those not on supervision that they have the right to remain silent and not answer questions, are they instead trained to threaten them with arrest and incarceration if they do not answer all questions to satisfaction? There is much to be accounted for, and I’m guessing most can be answered by looking at a couple of PowerPoint training presentations.
In conclusion, Missouri has 114 counties and many hundreds more townships, city police agencies, and metropolitan police departments with precincts. Thus, without hyperbole, the U.S. Marshals have the ability to shape and influence thousands of Missouri officers each year. It is the U.S. Marshals that are considered to be be the unquestioned authorities for all things “sex offender.” Assuming these are nationwide programs, then that number will easily broach thousands of units and tens of thousands of specially designated law enforcement officers who will receive this “training.”
I sought the advice of two close friends before making this piece public. The first reminded me that “Statistics don’t lie; statisticians lie,” and then pointed me to an article where even solid facts by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) can be manipulated by cherry picking and stovepipe analysis. I’ve read it before, but if you’re unfamiliar, this is very informative.
My other buddy, referring to me talking to low-level law enforcement, reminded me, “When you go down to wrestle with a pig, all you’ll do is get muddy, and the pig ain’t gonna learn shit.”