Security Officers Overstep in Maryland Library Incident
— found at ALA Web site
Two county security officers, who wore hats identifying them as Homeland Security guards, have been reassigned after they intervened in a patron’s internet session at the Little Falls branch of the Montgomery County Public Library in Bethesda, Maryland. While on routine patrol at the library February 9, a veteran security guard and an officer trainee noticed a man viewing what they believed to be pornography on a library computer and asked him to step outside to discuss the matter, the Washington Post reported February 17. They then announced to patrons using the computers that looking at porn violated the county’s sexual harassment policy.
At that point, library staffers intervened and called the county police department. “An officer did respond, and after discussion, it was determined that the actions of the security guards were not appropriate,” police spokeswoman Lucille Bauer told reporters. The library patron was allowed to return to his internet session.
Ok, this is a new one for me. I’ve heard of the Patriot Act stories (none I’d care to repeat or which haven’t been reported already), but this is the first time I’ve heard of Homeland Security acting as pornography police. I wonder if they don’t have enough to do…