Mon 20 Feb, 2006 04:12 pm
Security Officers Try Prohibiting Porn At Bethesda Library
First Amendment Rights Cited
POSTED: 11:58 am EST February 17, 2006
UPDATED: 12:03 pm EST February 17, 2006
ROCKVILLE, Md. -- Montgomery County officials have ordered additional training for its unarmed security officers on First Amendment protections Friday after two officers tried to prohibit pornography at a public library.
A veteran security guard and an officer trainee visited the library system's Little Falls branch in Bethesda on Feb. 9 and announced that viewing pornographic material on the Internet was prohibited.
One of the guards requested that a library patron accompany him outside to discuss material that had been accessed on a library computer, according to county officials. A librarian intervened and called the Montgomery County Police Department.
"An officer did respond, and after discussion, it was determined that the actions of the security guard were not appropriate," said Lucille Bauer, a police spokeswoman.
Despite the security guard's assertion that viewing pornographic sites violated the county's sexual harassment policy, library patrons were allowed to return to their activities without further interference.
Bauer said a report was not filed on the incident, but the police officer's awareness of county law prompted the decision to ask the security guards to leave.
The county's library policy supports the rights of library patrons to view materials of their choice. While librarians will request that patrons be considerate of others, they will provide privacy screens to computer users if nearby patrons complain.
On Friday, Bruce Roemer, the county's chief administrative officer, issued a statement which indicated that the officers' persistent stance on the issue made "the situation worse."
The Montgomery County Homeland Security Department has reassigned both security guards to non-patrol duties. Department officials have also been told to make sure that the library's unrestricted access policy is consistent with "first amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution," Roemer said.
Washington Post: Policing Porn Is Not Part of Job Description
Boston Gobe: Homeland Security on porn patrol in Md.
walter : in good ol' canada, pornographic material was regularly intercepted and confiscated by postal inspectors , certainly during the 50's and 60's - don't know when it stopped .
we also had (have ?) a film censor board, whose job it was to screen 'sexually explicit' films and , if necessary, 'cut them' - some were banned outright.
there was a joke going around, wondering how one could 'qualify' for such a job, and what was being done to prevent the censors from being 'corrupted' .
oh, what a wonderful world we are living in - it's o.k to kill but 'verboten' to watch 'pornographic' material (not that i have any need to - just wanted to make the point clear !!!). hbg