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Pembroke Pines PD To Unveil New Law Enforcement Technique

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Sounds like something out of a bad spy movie...

The Pembroke Pines Police Department reported that they are going undercover to catch crooks, and they are doing it with disguises.

Specifically targeting burglary suspects, the new unit called the Burglary Suppression Team is part of a state-wide effort to stop burglaries caused by the economy.

Police will be dressed as landscapers, mail carriers and dog walkers, among other things, to keep an eye on potential burglaries.

Now how this will play out has yet to be seen. Sure, if an officer spots a break-in in progress, he or she is legally obligated to stop it. However, what if they see somebody enter a home and suspect - without knowing that that person is the lawful homeowner or authorized guest - that that person is committing a crime? Will these investigatory stops lead to illegal searches and seizures?

I applaud the spirit of the Pembroke Pines Police Department's idea, but safeguards must be in place to ensure that innocent people - such as homeowners - are not subjected to disrespect, humiliation, or illegal detention. Believe me, I have seen my share of cases where people were arrested on their own front lawns because the police didn't believe that the person lived there.

Eric Matheny is a criminal defense attorney serving Miami-Dade and Broward. Call to discuss your case.