Original Source Link: (May no longer be active)
Aug. 25, 2002, 10:00PM
Delaware police compile database of future suspects
WILMINGTON, Del. -- Police in Delaware are trying to get a head-start on cracking crimes before they happen by setting up a database that contains a list of people who officers believe are likely to break the law.
Defense attorneys and the American Civil Liberties Union oppose the database, which lists names, addresses and photographs of the potential suspects -- many of whom have clean slates.
The precise grounds for putting a person on the list aren't clear. But since the system was introduced in Wilmington in June, most of the 200 people included in the file have been minorities from poor, high-crime neighborhoods.
State and federal prosecutors say the tactic is legal, but defense lawyers object to the practice.
"We should enforce the existing laws, but not violate them, to catch the bad guys," said Theo Gregory, City Councilman and public defender. "We've become the bad guys, and that's not right."
Mayor James Baker called the criticism "asinine and intellectually bankrupt."
"I don't care what anyone but a court of law thinks," he said. "Until a court says otherwise, if I say it's constitutional, it's constitutional."
The pictures are being taken by two Wilmington police squads created in June to arrest drug dealers. The units are known in some neighborhoods as "jump-out squads" because they jump out of cars and make quick arrests.
Many of the people whose photos have been taken for the file were stopped briefly for loitering and let go.