The high desert is the high desert, but...
The California Highway Patrol in the High Desert and the Twentynine Palms Marine Base are receiving dozens of calls complaining about a controversial DUI checkpoint. Military Police joined the CHP for a recent checkpoint in Yucca Valley.
The Friday night checkpoint was in front of the Yucca Valley Home Depot on Highway 62. What has High Desert residents confused [or not confused?] is that they are not used to military police so far from the Marine Base.
From the local radio to internet blogs, residents were concerned the Military Police presence violated federal law.
The original California Highway Patrol news release mentioned the military presence. One released shortly later doesn't mention the military, arising community suspicion of a cover-up.
Congress passed the Posse Comitatus Act more than a hundred years ago forbidding the military from enforcing civilian law such as traffic stops.
Marine Lt. Thomas Beck tells News Channel 3 the Military Police were not arresting people. They were just watching the checkpoint to see how they should do it on base.
"We were not actively participating in enforcing any laws. We were there to observe and observe only, " said Lt. Beck.
The California Highway Patrol says they invited the Marines to tag along.
"We had the DUI checkpoint and invited the Marine Corps in a show of good relations between our two departments," said CHP Officer Rob McLoud.
Not that I'm foilyMR SUBLIMINAL Yeah, right but I don't think the community is "confused" at all.
I mean, imagine what else the Military Police could "observe and observe only." Prisoner interrogations? Will the civilian police start going to military bases to "observe and observe only"? What happens when the two departments start joint programs? And so on.
Integration of the military and the police is not a good idea at all, and this program is not a good precedent.
NOTE Another interesting thing about this story is that it made its way from "blogs" to the community to the mainstream press. It will be interesting to see if the story makes it any further than a local TV station. The high desert can be wicked foily because people go and live in the desert for reasons, sometimes. Change always begins at the margins....