William Norman Grigg
May 6, 2013
“What does it hurt,” asked Sheriff Ric Bradshaw of Florida’s Palm Beach County, “to have somebody knock on the door and ask, ‘Hey, is everything OK?’”
The answer to that question obviously depends on the identity of the “Somebody” who is making that inquiry. What Sheriff Bradshaw had in mind was a strike force composed of deputies, social workers, and “mental health” professionals from a “Behavioral Sciences Unit” (BSU) who would be on-call twenty-four hours a day, ready to be deployed to visit the homes of what the Soviets used to call “socially dangerous people.” In the Soviet Union, such people would often be involuntarily committed to a psihuska, or psychiatric prison.
“We want people to call us if the guy down the street says he hates the government, hates the mayor and he’s gonna shoot him,” Bradhsaw told the Palm Beach Post in describing the BSU, which would be funded through a $1 million grant from the state government. That grant hasn’t been formalized, but if the state legislature balks, it’s quite likely the Feds will chip in: In a speech last February 6 to the Alliance of DelRay Residential Organizations, Bradshaw said that he would prefer to fund the unit “through a federal grant.”
This is precisely the kind of pilot program the Feds would find worthwhile – indeed, it represents a model of “preventive intervention” that the federal government has been promoting for at least two decades.
In 1993, another law enforcement personality with roots in Florida, then-Attorney General Janet Reno, proposed the creation of specialized units composed of police and social workers who would fan out in troubled urban regions, knocking on doors, conducting “safety” evaluations, and connecting residents to government “services.”