Everyone, especially well-informed writers, know that cops must obtain a search warrant prior to searching people and places, when doing so without permission. And, to convince a judge to sign off on a search warrant officers must present the probable cause they believe exists.

Those same officers may not force or coerce a suspect to confess or otherwise incriminate themselves. Defendants in criminal cases are entitled to a trial by jury and they must be provided an attorney to represent them if they cannot afford to hire one. They are entitled to have the case against them proved beyond a reasonable doubt, or not. They may not be properly imprisoned, and they must be prosecuted under a true law. One that, without a doubt, outlines an illegal act.

In other words, the hands of the police are tied up quite nicely when it comes to protections of the rights of citizens. Doesn’t mean those rights are not occasionally violated (intentionally, or not), but these hard and fast rules are spelled out in back and white.

The above, however, are the rules pertaining to police officers and their actions relating to criminal cases and searche. They also pertain to the rights of the targets of those investigations. But how do those laws affect the CDC and their quest to safeguard the world against the threat of  disease and/or bioterrorism?

Here’s an eye-opener!

Under the police power authority granted  by the constitution, public health officials may search and seize without probable-cause and/or a warrants. They’re legally permitted to take enforcement actions without court hearings. In fact, courts defer to the discretion of public health officials.

Public health officials have an enormous amount of flexibility when it comes to creating and designing and implementing enforcement strategies and planning. Here’s the icing on the cake—they must only prove their cases by a “more probable than not” standard. And this holds up when or if the actions are challenged in court.

The doctrine of state “police power” was adopted in early America from English common law principles. Those ideologies directed the restriction of an individual’s rights when needed for safeguarding of the common good (stop the spread of disease or other serious health and safety issues).

Today, when we hear the phrase “police powers” we tend to think of the authority granted to police officers that permits them to legally arrest criminal suspects. However, “police powers” is not a term that’s equal with criminal enforcement tactics, techniques, and procedures. Instead, the police powers granted, by law, to the CDC and other public health agencies, including federal, local, and state public health officials, authorizes them to develop and enforce civil self-protection rules.

In short, public health police power allows each state to enforce isolation and quarantine, health, and inspection laws. And, simply put, this is to help prevent the spread of disease.

Now, all of this does not mean there are gun-toting, handcuff-bearing CDC cops who break down doors to haul out family members who’re suffering from a bad and highly contagious case of Ebolasyphhlianthraxiosis. But feel free to assume that the CDC is mindful of the threats to our borders regarding bioterrorism. After all, who knows what could slip onto our shores under the cover of darkness.

Still, when health officials deal with folks who need arresting or non-compliant confinement, they call on the local, state, or federal law enforcement officials for assistance.

“Police powers of the states are an expression of civil authority.” ~ National Institute of Health


The National Institute of Health (NIH) went on to state that police powers are a state’s ability to control, regulate, or prohibit non-criminal behavior. Health officials, they say, may use these police powers to mandate treatment, prohibit or direct a particular conduct, or to detain and isolate, which, ironically, is incarceration of a quasi-criminal nature. And they can hold you for as long as they deem necessary. Remember, too, the earlier mention that courts typically defer to public health officials and do not intervene.

Separation of civil authority from law enforcement

To sum up:

  • Public health police powers are an expression of the civil, not criminal, authority of the state.
  • Criminal and civil enforcement of laws must remain separate. Public health officials should never become a part of criminal law enforcement because doing so would restrict their capabilities to “act now” in the event of a bioterrorism attack, or in the event of an outbreak of a contagious and deadly disease. They’d then be subjected to criminal law regarding search and seizure, probable cause, and even safeguarding a person’s presumption of innocence.
  • CDC officials are NOT police officers.
  • CDC officials have the power to isolate and quarantine.
  • Public health officials and law enforcement work hand-in-hand, especially in cases of bioterrorism.

Per the CDC:

Isolation and Quarantine

Isolation and quarantine help protect the public by preventing exposure to people who have or may have a contagious disease.

  • Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick.
  • Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.

In addition to serving as medical functions, isolation and quarantine also are “police power” functions, derived from the right of the state to take action affecting individuals for the benefit of society.

Here’s a news flash that isn’t fake. There are people in this world who want to hurt us. Well, us and anyone else they manage to get in their sights. And, as we’ve seen all across the world, those bad folks use a variety of means to carry out their deadly missions—explosives, vehicles, gunfire, knives, etc.

While different, those instruments of death all have one thing in common—each is visible with the naked eye. Therefore, we can at least see those things. But what if we couldn’t? Suppose cars and knives and guns were all invisible and we had no means of detecting their presence? What if an invisible weapon existed, one capable of killing thousands all in a single act? Okay, and as Amazon’s Alexa would say, “Here’s your flash briefing.” There are indeed extremely powerful invisible weapons—biological agents—that can kill thousands upon thousands of people. Millions, even.

We provide extra gear for our police and military, equipment designed to keep them safe and to help conduct the arrest of armed, dangerous bad guys. We install barriers to prevent vehicle attacks on public buildings. We have radar and aircraft designed to defend the country against missile attacks. Our navy stands watch in the sea. Police and military and private citizens and corporations all train officers, agents, soldiers, family members, and employees in ways to protect against violent attack (active shooters, etc.).

But what about the invisible killers, the things capable killing entire populations—every single man, woman, child, and animal—of towns, cities, counties, and possibly an entire state and beyond? What have we done to safeguard against something as deadly as a bioterrorism attack?

Not an actual street and not a real “Secret Sniffer.”

Fortunately, there’s BioWatch, the early-warning detection system that constantly “sniffs” the air to detect the release of biological agents. Managed by the Office of Health Affairs/Department of Homeland Security, BioWatch, a network of over 30 jurisdictions across the U.S., receives support from other federal agencies, scientists, laboratory techs, public health officials, state and local authorities, and emergency managers.

Air sensors/monitors/collectors are positioned in various locations throughout the 30+ jurisdictions (these jurisdictions are made up of numerous towns, cities, and counties within a specific area). Scientists monitor the collectors, and they collect and analyze samples collected in the filters.

BioWatch collectors are positioned on sidewalks (attached to utility poles and other stationary items). They’re also in airports, bus stations, sporting areas, and other such areas.

Should a biological agent be detected at one of the sensors, the alert system is activated and authorities are immediately notified. Life-saving measures are then to be set in motion, such as supplying each citizen with a proper antidote.

Painting the town, one nose and one brick at a time.


California wine: Target for terror

We can all sleep a bit easier tonight knowing that Homeland Security has saved us from a super-duper, mega-colossal attack right here on good old U.S soil.

The plot began in the southernmost U.S. territory, American Somoa, where tuna is the main export and, apparently, the destruction of human life in the U.S. is high on the radar of these vile villains of the worst kind.

As we here in America went about our daily lives, doing the fun and simple-life sort of things we do—hating, killing, vandalizing people’s property, blocking streets, highways, and bridges, stealing, raping, robbing, stabbing, beating, complaining, bashing anyone and everyone who doesn’t agree with our causes du jour, cop bashing, politician bashing, race bashing and baiting, agenda driving, road raging, controlling guns (or not), president hating, potential president hating, using Facebook as the ultimate guide to life, and, for some idiotic reason, listening to and believing, without question, the things said by celebrities who offer uneducated opinions about current events—the evil-doers from American Somoa were plotting to destroy America, starting with the state of California. And this was their SECOND attempt within the past 60 days!

Thank goodness for the quick thinking of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents who were stationed at the Port of Oakland this month. It was they who nabbed the pair of adults who were in charge of the ring of killers. With them were approximately ten dozen terror-inducers-in-training.

The captured thugs, while hiding on the docks among a stack of wooden pallets, were resting from their long journey inside a shipping container. The scene must have been intense as agents moved in. However, intensive training and cool heads prevailed. Not a shot was fired.

So we can all rest easy, until the next attempt. For now, though, the captured pair of African Snails and their hundred or so eggs have been safely collected and delivered to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for testing. The shipping container in which they traveled was sterilized before offloading from the vessel.

By the way, African Snails can grow to 8 inches in length with a diameter of 5 inches, and they eat 500 types of plants, including garden vegetables. They love, among lots of others, sweet corn, lettuce, blackberries, cucumbers, strawberries, melons, and GRAPES! Did you see the California danger level rise to the red zone when I typed GRAPES? These slime-trailers also enjoy a nice hearty meal of stucco, plaster, and paint, and even raw meat if it’s available.

In addition to wiping out crops and buildings, these, the most dangerous snails in the world, also carry, among other creepy-crawly parasites, a nematode that can lead to meningitis in humans. Unfortunately, it is unclear what happened to the monstrous snails and their young after the testing was complete.

I understand the #snaillivesmatter organization has planned a march from San Francisco to Oakland, via the Bay Bridge. The parade of angry, protesting snails from all across Northern California and beyond will come together today at 4pm for a slime-in at the Federal Courthouse in Oakland. Commuters are advised to avoid the Bay Bridge. Reports say traffic there is already reduced to no more than a “snail’s pace.” Pedestrians are reporting that walkways and pavements are a sticky, gooey mess.

Oakland resident, Ima Steponem, told reporters she’s sick and tired of snail privilege and wants to see “every damn one of them” in handcuffs by the end of the day. Oakland police chief Sammy Salamander says he’s looking forward to a meeting with the head snail.

Meanwhile, restaurants all across the Bay Area are hurrying to add “jumbo” escargot to their menus.

Chief Salamander urges everyone to remain calm and to not take matters into their own hands. Oakland and San Francisco police are both on high alert as just moments ago panicked citizens began running for cover when someone shouted, “They’re coming! To arms, the snails are coming!”

But, everyone in San Francisco quickly came to their senses, knowing full well that people are not allowed to use guns to commit crimes in their city (San Francisco has some of the toughest gun laws in the country, and they still saw a huge increase in the number of homicides in 2015—over 70%—when compared to the 2014 murder rate).

Oakland residents, however, were last seen running for the hills as the snails continued their relentless “flat-foot” march toward the courthouse. An Oakland resident who asked to remain anonymous, told a Graveyard Shift reporter, “Ain’t nothing worse than a slimy-ass snail with a gun.”


*This is a true story…well, the part about Homeland Security agents discovering the dangerous snails is true (now you know what it is these agents do—snail patrol). However, the protest and slime-in scheduled for today…not true. It takes place tomorrow.

Chief Salamander is, of course, fictitious. Salamanders, in case you were wondering, are natural predators of snails.

Escargot is indeed featured on the menu of many Bay Area restaurants. Now you know where they get their snails. Yum…


Homeland security news

1. Scientists have discovered that by injecting a virus known as a bioluminescent reporter phage into a suspected sample of anthrax, the phage causes the anthrax to glow. In the past, testing for anthrax took a minimum of 24 to 48 hours. This new method of anthrax detection can be completed as quickly as five hours.

2. The same technology used to study layers of paint on ancient art is now thought to be a better method of detecting explosive material than the body scanners used at airports. The procedure uses electromagnetic radiation, like those used in kitchen ovens, and the infrared rays used in TV remote controls. It’s believed that this technology may soon replace the full body scanners.

3. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations Nogales Tunnel Task Force (yes, there is a tunnel task force), recently discovered a tunnel that stretched from an abandoned home in Nogales, Mexico to an occupied house across the border in Arizona. Tunnels such as this one are used to smuggle drugs, weapons, and people, across the border into the U.S. Officials have discovered approximately one tunnel per month since 2010. In the past, agents have had to physically inspect the tunnels by walking or crawling through. Now, robots are used to conduct the dangerous inspections, searching for threats.

4. Two days ago, Governor Jay Inslee of Washington State signed legislation,  the Dream Act of Washington State, that offers financial aid to students who were brought into the U.S. illegally by their parents.

5. The Department of Homeland Security has abandoned its mission to create a national license-plate database. They’d asked for bids from private contractors to develop a database that would have contained over a billion records, including those of private, law-abiding citizens. However, the fear of having no means to safeguard the information of innocent citizens outweighed the benefits.

6. A Stanford University report shows that huge offshore wind farms could greatly reduce the power of hurricanes. For example, a group of 78,000 offshore turbines could have reduced the strength of Hurricane Katrina by up to 79 percent.

7. Researchers at the University of Liverpool have shown that WiFi networks can be infected by viruses that can move through businesses and homes in densely populated areas, totally undetected.

8. Homeland Security is not limited to investigating terrorism cases. In addition, they investigate human trafficking, child sexual exploitation, contraband smuggling, money laundering, gang enforcement, and intellectual property rights violations, among other crimes. They even work narcotics-related investigations. The department currently operates 68 offices in nearly 50 countries.

Gee, we needed one more agency that does what ten others already do, right?

9. Hot dry weather has prompted the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to ask high-capacity water facilities in 32 counties to implement voluntary water conservation measures.

So, Homeland Security is also in charge of telling us to what level our water glasses should be filled?

10. Politicians can stop patting themselves on the back for the drop in crime rates since their peak in the 1990’s. Instead of the “tough on crime” stance, scientists believe the lower crime rates are a direct result of taking lead out of gas and paint. No longer exposed to lead-based car exhaust and house paint, people gradually began to commit fewer crimes. Well, so says the report “The Crimes of Lead,” Chemical & Engineering News.

Is it possible that politicians may have “painted” themselves into a corner with the “lock-em-up-and-throw-away-the-key mandatory minimum sentencing, even for minor offenses, that now has prisons bursting at the seams? Say it ain’t so…