Kansas law officers would have to get a search warrant before attaching a GPS device to a suspects vehicle under a bill being considered in a Senate committee.
House Bill 2034, which has already been passed in the House, complies with a 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling requiring officers to present a search warrant if GPS is installed on a suspects vehicle. Now, police are not required to get a search warrant.
Kyle Smith, deputy director the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, testified in support of the bill before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, saying Kansas statutes do not address GPS search warrants and must be updated to fit 21st century technology.
We have to leave a copy of the warrant when we serve it, Smith told the committee. Leaving a copy with the tracking device on your car underneath the windshield wiper is not particularly useful.
Smith also said that 96 hours, the current statute for search warrants, isnt enough time when a tracking device could take weeks to install on a suspects car. HB 2034 would change the requirement to 30 days, with chance of an extension. This would allow the police time to attach the GPS device.
Rep. Tom Sloan, R-Lawrence, proposed an amendment that would also help track criminals. It would require users of prepaid cellphones or SIM cards to provide information to retailers when making a purchase. Retailers would record the persons full name and address, and the identification number of the item and provide a monthly sales report to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation. Local police officers could then obtain the information from the KBI.
Sloan said criminals such as drug dealers often use prepaid phones or SIM cards because these plans dont ask for a name or address, making them nearly impossible for police to trace. Requiring the user to submit this information to the retailer would allow officers to track down criminals, and their larger networks, more efficiently.
A lot of times when they do drug busts, they find a number of these prepaid phones, Sloan said. If they could track them, they could find an investigation pointing to a larger unit than just than the individual that theyve arrested.
The information will go into a database, but will only be accessed if law enforcement comes in and says, I have found this phone or SIM card in the investigation of a crime, Sloan said. It doesnt involve tracking the individual. It doesnt involve being able to look back and see where the individual has physically been.
Unlike its base bill, the amendment would not require a search warrant, though Sloan said he would be open to including it in the measure.
No decision was made on the amendment or bill.