Should the police have this kind of power?
A growing number of car theft victims know the frustration of finding their stolen vehicle but being able to do nothing to retrieve it. You might be surprised to learn that sometimes the police face this same situation, which is why a bill in Minnesota’s legislature would provide them the power to attach a tracker to stolen cars.
Watch a stolen car drive through a shopping mall here.
If this bill passes, it authorizes law enforcement agencies to attach a GPS tracker to a vehicle for 24 hours without obtaining a warrant. Understandably, this is a controversial issue, but Rep. Kelly Moller, who sponsored the bill, says there’s bipartisan support behind it.
“Like an unmarked squad car and they knew this car was stolen but they didn’t have the ability or the resources to stop it in that moment, they could attach one of these trackers onto the car,” Moller told CBS Minnesota.
The issue of placing tracking devices on cars by law enforcement without getting a warrant first is an issue which has gone before the US Supreme Court in the past. That resulted in a prohibition based on the constitutional right to a reasonable expectation of privacy.
Moller, who is an assistant county attorney, believes she has a solution to that constitutional hurdle: when someone is driving a stolen vehicle, their expectation of privacy is diminished.
There are, naturally, concerns that such a tool could be abused by law enforcement eager to track the movements of someone they believe is engaged in nefarious activities. Another possibility is that police would attach the device to the wrong vehicle, tracking the movements of an innocent individual.
So far, this bill has passed the House Public Safety Committee and heads to the House Judiciary Committee. Moller is trying to find someone to sponsor it in the Senate. If it passes, Minnesota apparently would be the first state to have such a law on the books.
Source: CBS Minnesota
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