Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Bureau of Pre-Crime Fashion Police
You probably thought that the Rogers Police Department was too busy being trained in ICE racial profiling techniques or conducting warrentless searches to take on additional duties to anticipate and fight serious crime. Not so, says Sargent Kelley Cradduck. Just like the unit in the aptly named Minority Report, they want to make arrests even before anyone even thinks about breaking the law.
Rogers police officers spotted and questioned a Hispanic teenager at a football game at Gates Stadium last month and demanded that he remove his sunglasses because they featured a symbol originally associated with theater -- the faces of comedy and tragedy – which could also be used to describe the police action in that instance. What was the crime? Cradduck said those faces indicate a threat that symbolizes gang culture in general. So? I see old white Shriners riding tricycles and wearing fezzes, which might indicate a threat of a gang of terrorists from Morocco. I bet they don't get arrested in Rogers.
This is serious business, so don't laugh. Cradduck says he spends considerable time on duty surfing profiles and pages at MySpace.com, a site frequented by officers and detectives from law-enforcement departments always vigilant for suspicious gang symbols. "You can learn a lot just from browsing for an hour or so." Cradduck said he and other officers often tell people at school-related functions to remove a bandana, a piece of clothing with a potentially gang-related symbol or other indicators. "We’re going to act on it because we’re responsible for their safety and for the people around them." Like someone has ever been injured by sunglasses with miniature masks of comedy and tragedy? Oh, my, I feel safer now.