Impact of the USA Patriot Act on Local Law Enforcement
Advanced Research in Public Safety Issues, Theory, and Concepts
This paper presents the topic selected for the final Public Safety Case Analysis Project, an overview of the USA Patriot Act, its impact on local law enforcement, and the potential for net widening. Congress reacted to the violation to our country on September 11, 2001 by passing the USA Patriot Act into law on October 26, 2001. (USA Patriot Act, 2001). Since its enactment, the USA Patriot Act has both validated and victimized the American public in the name of securing our Nations freedom. Developed “to deter and punish terrorist acts in the United States and around the world, to enhance law enforcement investigatory tools, and for other purposes” the USA Patriot Act, bears the formal name ‘‘Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA Patriot Act, 2001, p. 1). Heretofore referred to as the “Patriot Act” the USA Patriot Act was signed into law within 6 weeks from initial draft to final approval supporting the enforcement of laws for the ultimate protection of the United States and her citizens by granting access to persons and information with liberal criminal and civil procedure exceptions. The Patriot Act immediately granted broad-based interrogation, surveillance and isolation abilities to law enforcement when investigating “crimes against terror” (US Government, 2011) Within the granting of access to information, persons, and resources, the Patriot Act has also enhanced the abilities and rights of law enforcement, the courts, and the government at large. Now, more than ever, law enforcement, the courts and the government can intervene in every part of your life, from observing your activities through extensive surveillance techniques to monitoring your library-reading list to ensure political loyalties are properly aligned....
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