The LAPD is doing its part in the war on terror.
Thanks to Special Directive No. 11, LAPD officers are authorized to monitor and collect data on otherwise legal activities like taking photos in public or driving around in the same area.
The rationale behind the directive is that seemingly benign activities might actually be part of domestic or foreign "pre-operative" terrorism efforts.
But critics of the policy fear that such unchecked surveillance power can lead to an oppressive police state that can trample on civil liberties. What if it leads to racial profiling and police brutality?
Under Special Directive 11 police officers complete Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) and send them to the Major Crimes Division. It is unclear exactly what happens to the information and how it is used.
The Los Angeles Community Action Network recently hosted a town hall meeting on Special Directive 11. At the town hall, people expressed concern with the possible connection between domestic surveillance and police brutality.