January 22, 2019

Maine Newspaper Continues Attack on Maine Warden Service Undercover Tactics

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Once again the Portland Press Herald has published an article describing others who were targets of the Maine Warden Service (MWS) undercover investigations, claiming they were wrongfully treated. Why is there no real focus on a more serious situation in which it appears the MWS stonewalled and refused to send information to the Press Herald requested through FOIA laws?

Whether Maine citizens like it or not, in all of these cases being written about in the news, the undercover investigations and the subsequent charges leveled against many people, have all gone through the Court System. We know of one case where the judge made a statement that the tactics were questionable, but, they were within the laws.

This week a dog and pony show will likely begin to “investigate” the accusations being made by the Press Herald against the MWS and the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) – a case of government investigating government. Governments are incapable of self-policing.

If what has come out in the Press about the tactics being used by undercover agents is remotely accurate, it is my opinion that legal tactics need to be changed. If any citizen has a “predisposition” (to give or furnish a tendency or inclination) to commit a crime – a term used to describe a precursor to actually formulating an undercover sting – why is there a need to bait them into doing it? Whatever happened to the simple infiltration of a gang only to observe and record behavior for later prosecution? Isn’t it worth it? Is there no fame, glory and money in this? Because it is “legal” (as recognized by the Court) is it right? Did the people of Maine and/or the Maine Legislature approve the “legal” guidelines to be employed during undercover operations? Do other branches of law enforcement follow the same guidelines or do they craft their own?

If Maine people don’t like the use of the tactics being described to them via the Press, it’s time to change those laws. It’s somewhat silly to keep harping about tactics, seemingly allowed by the Courts, without offering any solutions. We are told we are a government by and of the people. Is this not true?

So, is the Press Herald head hunting? Makes you wonder, although we do know they have created a hot topic and hot topics sell copies and puts money in the coffers. The governor thinks his administration is being targeted.

Why then, isn’t the Press Herald more heavily pursuing their own accusations that the MWS and MDIFW withheld and is still withholding information available to the public? We know what the law says about our supposed right to access public information. Perhaps they are pursuing that as I write. If the Press Herald is head hunting the LePage Administration, isn’t non compliance of an FOIA law a better opportunity than chasing butterflies?

It would seem to me that any investigation should be focused on FOIA actions and that if the Press and the people have issues with how law enforcement carries out their mission, they should work to get it changed.

The people have created themselves a tightrope to walk. After 9/11, Law Enforcement seemingly can do no wrong and even when they do, they are still glorified for doing it. The people cannot allow any government or law enforcement to trample on their rights, out of fear for any reason. When we fear government, including law enforcement, what then is there of value in any of our perceived rights given by God or men?

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