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Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) - Firefighters in major cities are being trained to take on a new role as lookouts for terrorism, raising concerns of eroding their standing as American icons and infringing on people's privacy.
Unlike police, firefighters and emergency medical personnel don't need warrants to access hundreds of thousands of homes and buildings each year, putting them in a position to spot behavior that could indicate terrorist activity or planning.
When going to private residences, for example, they are told to be alert for a person who is hostile, uncooperative or expressing hate or discontent with the United States; unusual chemicals or other materials that seem out of place; ammunition, firearms or weapons boxes; surveillance equipment; still and video cameras; night-vision goggles; maps, photos, blueprints; police manuals, training manuals, flight manuals; and little or no furniture other than a bed or mattress.
``If in the conduct of doing their jobs they come across evidence of a crime, of course they should report that to the police,'' said the ACLU's German. ``But you don't want them being intelligence agents.''
Originally posted by Nexus
How is it any different to them coming across evidence of crimes and reporting it?