A recent analysis, cited by Thacher, indicated that
local police would be "developing new areas of investigative
expertise, cooperating much more with federal law
enforcement and intelligence agencies, working more closely
with the military, [and] increasing their levels of
surveillance over their communities."
An inquiry to DHS asking about the precise nature of its
interaction with local police departments went unanswered.
Lt. Richard Russo, spokesman for the HEPD, however, told AFP
that senior officers had gone through "command post"
training with DHS and a private New York-based contractor
Lt. Dennis Carroll of the neighboring Schaumburg P.D.
told AFP that DHS and the Schaumburg police "work very well
together." Asked who handles the communication with the
federal agency, Carroll said there is a liaison at the
Russo did not know if local police are required to act
on orders given by DHS, but said they probably would, in the
spirit of mutual co-operation with the federal agency.
A former Swedish marine and public safety expert who
works in France commented on the odd use of a "gang
suppression team" to respond to a 911 call. The decision by
the HEPD to send the undercover unit to explain their
presence was "illogical," according to the European public
"This was provocative, threatening, and very unusual,"
he said. "This is not the way to handle a 911 call. The gang
suppression team should have been instructed not to get out
of the car. There was no need to get out of the car, but if
there were, the proper thing would have been to send only
one man to the house without a gun. Or better, wait for an
official, marked police car with a uniformed officer to
explain the situation.
"Police teams of any kind always operate in pairs," he
said. "Police teams never operate in formations of three for
"Gangs are local juveniles with some strange ways," the
France-based public safety expert wrote, "Easily handled by
social workers, not undercover agents in body armor. So the
statement by the HEPD that undercover agents were on a gang
suppression mission seems to be an outrageous lie." In
France , gang suppression units always have a person
videotaping their actions. In my case, there was no filming
by the police and my wife was physically prevented from
The police have offered two explanations about why the
"gang suppression" unit was sent, both of which seem
illogical. The first is that this was the nearest unit,
although the 911 call was not an emergency call, but rather
a request for an explanation more than 30 minutes after I
had observed the heavily-armed unit near my house. However,
after the arrival of the tactical unit, a half-dozen squad
cars and two emergency vehicles immediately appeared on the
scene to support the action.
The uniformed police, however, clearly had orders not to
intervene and stayed back until after the assault and arrest
had been completed. This raises the question, what were the
orders given to the tactical unit and to the uniformed
An AFP supporter contacted the Palo Alto Police
Department ( Calif. ) to ask if citizens, believing that
armed federal agents are spying on their home without
probable cause, are entitled to call 911 and report the
apparent threat to their safety?
"Yes, one can call 911," the Palo Alto police
spokesperson said. "But," she added, "if federal agents are
watching a home, in most cases, the local law enforcement is
notified, and they are in contact with the federal agents,
but local police are not to reveal which agency is involved
or why." Nor are the local police allowed to intervene in
any action taken by the federal agents.
Chief Herdegen of the HEPD subsequently told AFP that
the tactical unit had returned to my house to identify
themselves and explain their purpose. However, despite
repeated requests, the three men refused to do either. Why
would the HEPD send a unit who could not, or would not,
identify themselves? The refusal by the armed agents to
identify themselves as legitimate police officers prevented
them from resolving the 911 call, and allowed them to
exacerbate the situation leading to the violent assault.
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