Let the wiretapping idiocy begin!

You just know it was going to happen, but the "no story" on NSA Surveillance is producing some odd offshoots:

This is from the local South Florida Sun Sentinel Newspaper:

Secret police taping of calls in Lake Worth spurs lawsuit

Headline is scary isn't it? "Secret Police".....it's almost like "Journalistic Malfeasance" isn't it?

....I digress...

Anyway....here's the story- which is really no story - well, you'll see what I mean:

"Long before the start of a national debate over the legality of wiretapping Americans' telephones, police in Lake Worth were recording all calls coming into and going out of the dispatch center in a practice now being challenged in court.

A lawsuit brought by former officers and a current employee of the Police Department turns a spotlight on the same issue raised by the Bush administration's use of secret electronic surveillance to hunt for suspected terrorists: Can law enforcement eavesdrop on the conversations of U.S. residents without a court order, and without the knowledge or consent of those being monitored?

"This case is about invasion of privacy and a violation of the law," said attorney John C. Davis, who represents two former Lake Worth police officers, Ralph Brillinger and Richard Sluman, and Lori Nedzweckas, a police dispatcher now married to Brillinger.

According to Davis, callers to the police emergency line were advised their calls were recorded, as state law requires. But no notification was given on other lines, meaning that thousands of residents' conversations were taped illegally, he said. According to testimony in the case, about 150 calls were made to and from the police communications center during an eight-hour shift.

"We are not claiming that they cannot record emergency calls. But these were not emergency calls," said Davis, who practices in Tallahassee. "They were willy-nilly recording [all] calls, and the law is clear that they cannot do that."

Hate to break it to this clown - but after working as 911 Dispatcher for a few years just down the street from Lake Worth. All 911 calls are taped (State Statue), as well as non-emergency calls. In our agency all callers to the department were greated with "XYZ Police and Fire, this line is being recorded, can I help you." That covered emergency calls and so-called "willy-nilly calls" like barking dogs and "What times is it?" (Yes, people call the police to ask the time).

The reason are clear for the practice. 1. 9/11 calls are played back many times in order to check and verify addresses, as well as being used iby prosecutors as evidence in Court. 2. Even so-called non-emergency calls can be used as evidentiary, as in fact many criminal calls begin by a call to the non-emergency lines. There are also in-house reasons related to quality assurance and employee monitoring (legal in its' own right), which we will see is at the crux of this matter.

But beyond that, the recording of calls to your bank, credit card company, bank, are all a widely known practice. You know, where you are told this is for "Quality assurance and training"?

Apparently in this case callers to the non-emergency line were not told they were being recorded - which I find hard to believe, nevertheless if true, it's a gig- but color me skeptical.

Yet it turns out that as the scary headline fails to tell us there is MORE to the story, read on...

"Ironically, in a city known for political and social activism, the questions about wiretaps in this case do not spring from efforts by law officers to monitor anti-war groups or community firebrands.

Nor is the lawsuit connected to the activities of the Pentagon, which in December was revealed to have sent undercover operatives to spy on a small Lake Worth counter-military group, the Truth Project, which had gathered in 2004 in a Quaker meeting house.

Rather, the case stems in part from a personnel squabble that has roiled the Police Department and led to three years of litigation.

"This lawsuit [is a result of] a dispute between employee and employer," said City Manager Paul C. Boyer Jr. He said it should not be viewed as a fight over the constitutional right to privacy.

Yet, Boyer added, "From the outside, I can see how it would look that way." ........

The chain of events leading to the lawsuit began in late 2000 when Nedzweckas, a police dispatcher for 13 years, was reprimanded for an infraction over job performance. During a disciplinary hearing, police investigators, in attempting to show that Nedzweckas exaggerated how busy she was, produced transcripts of personal phone conversations between her and Brillinger, whom she was dating.

"I was amazed, stunned and embarrassed," said Brillinger, 45, a former Lake Worth Officer of the Year who spent almost 20 years with the department before he was fired two years ago.

Among the many taped phone calls between Nedzweckas at work and Brillinger at home were conversations about "what's going on, the Jerry Springer Show, casual talk," Brillinger said.

Fifteen months after Nedzweckas was fired in March 2001, she, Brillinger and Nedzweckas' sister, Shelly Stark, a Texas resident to whom Nedzweckas frequently talked, sued the city, alleging that police violated state law by secretly recording their conversations."

Did you catch that? Ndzweckas and Brillinger are peeved and suing because they are mad because their conversations, that were not work-related and personal, and on the taxpayer's time - thus unauthorized - were recorded.

My take? Mrs. Nedzweckas was a slug dispatcher, yakking it up on the Department line while evidently ignoring incoming calls from the public or officers - thus she is a slug. I worked with a few of her ilk.

Evidently, her new hubby doesn't fall far from the tree in his "work habits":

"In December 2003, Brillinger and two other officers were fired, accused of submitting false overtime requests.

Brillinger said the real cause of his dismissal was that both he and Nedzweckas, who married in February 2004, were considered troublemakers by Smith. "I have embarrassed the chief," he said."

No, the reason you and your slug wife were fired is because you were caught using taxpayer's time and money for your own personal "chat line".

Unfortunately Ms. Nedzweckas is back at work. So if you are in Lake Worth and can't get through the 911 line it's probably because Ms. "Blab it up" is on another call.

Fortunately her lame husband is not back on the job.

Of couse knowing Fort Worth it is not hard to figure some type of 'political motivation" behind some of this:

"Marc Drautz, elected Lake Worth mayor less than nine months ago, said he was familiar with the lawsuit, and would meet with Police Chief William Smith to review the taping protocol. "If it is not being done right, it will be fixed," said Drautz, who decried the federal government's efforts to spy on the Truth Project during a news conference last week."