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NEW: RI ACLU Questions “Superficial” Motel 6 Guest List Change

Friday, May 01, 2015


The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Rhode Island is questioning recent changes in Motel 6’s policy of handing over its guest list to Warwick police.

On April 15, the ACLU had criticized an agreement that was reached between Warwick police and the Motel 6 on Jefferson Boulevard in Warwick to share the motel’s list of guests, and to do so without notifying those patrons. The ACLU had called the agreement an invasion of guests’ privacy that sets a troubling precedent. 

Now, Rhode Island ACLU Executive Director Steve Brown is asking for clarification about new changes to the policy.  

ACLU Statement

“Although we are pleased to learn that Motel 6 will no longer routinely send its daily guest list to the Warwick Police Department, it remains unclear exactly how significant a change this actually is," said Brown in a statement. "According to comments from local law enforcement officials, it appears that the motel will instead simply permit Warwick police officers to view the guest list at the motel instead of sending it over to the police department. If so, this superficial change in policy only perpetuates the serious intrusion of privacy that Motel 6 guests are being subjected to. It certainly does not comport with comments attributed to Motel 6 corporate officials that they would no longer provide guest information to the police. The invasion of guests’ privacy is the same regardless of whether Motel 6 sends a list directly to the police or allows officers to examine it at the motel. And while police officials have suggested that criminal checks will be conducted only based on ‘reasonable suspicion,’ police officials will still be engaged in fishing expeditions if they are being provided access to the entire guest list whenever they choose.
“Both Motel 6 and the police department should formally clarify their statements and policies on this matter," continued Brown. "Specifically, we believe the motel should be providing access to the guest list, and the police should be seeking it, only under very limited circumstances, either pursuant to a warrant or when needed to address specific criminal activity taking place at the establishment. For now, though, it still appears that Motel 6 views each person who walks through their doors not as guests, but as participants in a line-up. The public deserves more clarity as to whether the so-called change in policy is merely just motel window dressing.”


Related Slideshow: Police Militarization - Department by Department Breakdown

Below are those fifteen local police departments that have obtained military supplies, listed from least to most items acquired. The list does not include acquisition records for certain tactical weapons and supplies for which the Pentagon has refused to release department-specific data. (In those instances only county-level data has been released. That data is not included below.) Records are for recent acquisitions going back to 2009 and were obtained from the Defense Logistics Agency.

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Items Purchased: 3

Summary of Equipment: Dump truck (1 unit), Snow plow plade (1 unit), Truck and tractor attachments (1 unit)

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West Warwick

Items Purchased: 5

Summary of Equipment: Shotgun barrel (1 unit), Immersion suit (1 unit, can be used for underwater operations)

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East Providence

Items Purchased: 10

Summary of Equipment: Radio sets (4 units), Miscellaneous vehicle parts (6 total units)

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Items Purchased: 12

Summary of Equipment: M84 charging handle (8 units, is part of a rifle)

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Items Purchased: 15

Summary of Equipment: Small arms sling swivel (10 units), Optical reflex units (5 units)

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Items Purchased: 17

Summary of Equipment: Digital computer systems (3 units), Flat panel monitors (10 units)

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Items Purchased: 43

Summary of Equipment: Binoculars (5 units), Ballistic protective spectacles (25 units), Sight mount (5 units)

Photo credit: Stanislas PERRIN

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Items Purchased: 49

Summary of Equipment: Armor Plate (1 unit), Survival vest pocksts (30 units)

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Items Purchased: 70

Summary of Equipment: High capacity rifle magazines (12 units), Ammunition-carrying vests (4 units), Ballistic protective spectacles (20 units)

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North Kingstown

Items Purchased: 72

Summary of Equipment: High capacity rifle magazines (27 units), Small arms storage rack (5 units), Satellite systems navigation set (4 units)

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East Greenwich

Items Purchased: 99

Summary of Equipment: Binoculars (10 units), Ballistic and laser protective spectacles (53 units), Ballistic protective spectables (30 unites)

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Items Purchased: 100

Summary of Equipment: High capacity rifle magazines (100 units)

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Items Purchased: 257

Summary of Equipment: Ballistic and laser protective spectacles (6 units), Rifle bipods (10 units), Field pack (10 units, designed for clothing rations, and additional items like ammunition), Passenger motor vehicles (3 units)

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Items Purchased: 1,604

Summary of Equipment: HMMWV (Humvee) M1165 Assembly Kit (2 units), Gun magazines (432 units), Night vision face masks (8 units), Gun silencers (54), Small arms sight mounts (6 units)

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Items Purchased: 2,389

Summary of Equipment: Armor plates (30 units), Demolition firing device (1 unit), Improvised Explosive Device training it (9 units), High capacity rifle magazines (599 units), Chemical protective suit (1 unit), High-speed tractor (1 unit), Diesel generators (2 units), Flat panel monitors (21 units)


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