Alleged Misuse of Law Enforcement Data

Did Law Enforcement Provide Vehicle Ownership Information of Vehicles Parked at Equal Rights Amendment Rallies to LDS/Mormon Security Personnel? So, Reportedly, Says Brent Metcalfe; Why I Think This Account is Suspect

By Ken K. Gourdin

In the late 1970s and early 1980s the proposed Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the United States Constitution was much in the news. Section I of the proposed Amendment states simply, “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

While this text seems simple and straightforward enough on first reading, could it be construed so as to render moot various common-sense distinctions on the basis of sex, and to mandate that various entities require the exact same things of women that they now require of men, even when such requirements are not fair or realistic?

While the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, subject to adaptation as necessary in individual circumstances, generally favors traditional gender roles, perhaps there is more to the Church’s concerns. Perhaps, due to the concern raised in the foregoing paragraph, the Amendment, rather than resulting in “equality,” would engender various unforeseen, unintended consequences that actually place women at an distinct disadvantage.

In a thread at Mormon Dialogue and Discussion, another poster stated that Brent Metcalfe, who reportedly used to work in security for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, asserted that Church Security personnel routinely would contact law enforcement personnel with the license plate numbers of vehicles observed at ERA rallies, and the vehicles’ owners’ attendance at the rallies would be reported to ecclesiastical authorities.

I worked as an emergency dispatcher long enough to realize how horribly I sucked at it. My limited tenure notwithstanding, it still provided me with the requisite background to find this account suspect. I replied:

[Call for references] from a reliable source in law enforcement. Use of the databases that would be consulted in such a case for such a non-law-enforcement purpose would land the personnel involved in very hot water really quickly. I know: I used to access those databases routinely, and the consequences of such misuse likewise were routinely hammered into my brain.

In response, my interlocutor stated that “Brent” has some interesting stories from working in Church Security. I responded that I’m sure he does, but how many of them are true, on the other hand, is another issue. In response to that, my interlocutor brought up former General Authority Elder Paul H. Dunn’s prevarications in his sermons and said, “I think the guy [Brent Metcalfe] has more integrity than that.”

I replied:

Nice low blow. And I think most people in law enforcement have more integrity than that [Emphasis mine, in original] or at least, if they don’t, they’re still not dumb enough to risk throwing away their careers by using law enforcement databases for non-law-enforcement purposes. Interesting the lengths to which people go to defend people when they want what those people say to be true.

And yes, if one of his [Brent Metcalfe’s] “stories” is that law enforcement personnel, widely and on a regular basis, misused law enforcement databases to find out who owned vehicles seen parked at pro-ERA rallies so that information could be passed on to leaders in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for reasons I explained in my previous post, I think such a “story” is just that: that is to say, that it’s highly suspect.

And “the insinuation that Brent lied” occurred because use of law enforcement databases for non-law-enforcement purposes could be subject to criminal prosecution.

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About kenngo1969

Just as others must breathe to live, I must write. I have been writing creatively almost ever since I learned to write, period! I have written fiction, book- and article-length nonfiction, award-winning poetry, news, sports, features, and op-eds. I hope, one day, to write some motivational nonfiction, a decent-selling novel, a stage play, and a screen play.
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One Response to Alleged Misuse of Law Enforcement Data

  1. Brent Metcalfe says:

    Hi Ken,

    My Mormon Stories interview was a firsthand report—*I* was one of the LDS church security guards who worked in the control center (think: dispatch unit) and who called in the license plate numbers to get personal owner information from the police. I doubt very much that the police knew how the information would be used because we periodically called in plate info for a variety of reasons, including for vehicles that were improperly parked or abandoned on church property. They didn’t ask and we didn’t tell.

    I regret having ever been involved in such activity.

    I hope my comments provide some clarity.

    Best wishes,

    Brent

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