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Is It Time For The Feds To Rein In The NYPD?

When it comes to proactive law enforcement, intelligence and counterterrorism operations, the New York City Police Department – the NYPD – is viewed by many of its counterparts as one of the most innovative and successful police departments in the nation’s history.

However, the NYPD has also gained another, more insidious reputation in recent years for what many regard as an unprecedented challenge to privacy and civil liberties in America and what others regard as overreach internationally.

Eric Sanders, a former NYPD officer and now a civil rights attorney, said the controversy over the NYPD surveillance effort is symptomatic of larger public policy failures.

“Is the NYPD a local police department or a national police department?” asked Sanders. “They’re engaged in international intelligence gathering. At what point are they exceeding authority?” According to Sanders, although New York City is a major target for terrorists the city has become too powerful in the homeland security debate and has been able to take advantage of a lack of political will at the federal level to conduct meaningful oversight of data collection and storage efforts.

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