Lawmaker looks to tighten electronic surveillance procedures

Published 02/24 2014 05:39PM

Updated 02/24 2014 05:44PM

SPRINGFIELD -- One tool police can use when they need to catch a criminal is electronic surveillance. But, there's a new push to make sure it's only happening when it needs to. WCIA-3's Ashley Michels keeps us Connected to the Capitol.

Electronic surveillance is when police track where you are with something like a GPS. One lawmaker wants to add a little more security to the process.

"We use and law enforcement uses electronic surveillance whether it be a GPS tracker or some other way to investigate cases."

That's one way police track down criminals. They can attach monitors to things like cars or cell phones, or tap into built-in GPS devices. That way, they can track the movement of a suspect.

But, some worry there isn't enough oversight since police are not required to get a warrant before they start watching someone. It's a loophole some lawmakers want to close.

"The idea here is to make sure the public is protected from intrusion and also protect law enforcement to make sure they can continue to investigate and to catch the bad guys."

John Milhiser is the Sangamon County State's Attorney. He says tightening the rules actually won't be much of a change since most prosecutors and law enforcement already do it voluntarily.

"It legitimizes what law enforcement is doing. With some judicial oversight, there's that security that the public has that they say, 'Hey, a judge is looking at that.'"

Milhiser says the mandate could cause some problems though.

"Oftentimes you have extenuating circumstances where time is a necessity and, in those emergency situations, police need to be able to do their jobs."

But, the measure does allow certain exceptions, like if there's a missing person or if crews are responding to a 911 call.

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