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Since 2012, deputies in a specialized narcotics unit of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department have pulled over thousands of cars on a rural stretch of the 5 Freeway, California’s major north-south artery. A Times analysis of the unit’s traffic stops found Latino drivers are stopped and searched far more frequently than other motorists – a disparity that translated into thousands of innocent people being detained by deputies acting on little more than a hunch. In several cases, federal judges ruled deputies violated people’s constitutional rights. In response to The Times’ investigation, the Sheriff’s Department recently suspended the unit’s operations.
After Sept. 11, 2001, federal authorities asked local and state police to serve as their eyes and ears on America's highways. The departments of Justice and Homeland Security, along with state agencies, spent millions to train them in an aggressive technique known as highway interdiction. But it soon became something else: Dragnets that swept up the criminal and innocent alike in a search for money. The Washington Post series revealed one of the great unknown consequences of 9/11. Local and state police, working through a Justice program called Equitable Sharing, have made nearly 62,000 cash seizures totally $2.5 billion since 9/11, without warrants or criminal charges.
Westword (Denver) profiles the Arvada Police Department where police officers lure out-of-state pedophiles to Colorado for arrest. Critics say the program is diverting the APD's principal mandate, which is to serve Arvada instead of policing the nation. They also claim the program preys on the worst in people, tempting them to do something they normally wouldn't.