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Published on Friday, March 6, 2015

Bill allowing law enforcement access to call location information in emergencies moving through Legislature

SB 5158, sponsored by Sen. John McCoy (D-Tulalip), requires wireless telecommunications providers to provide call information for a telecommunications device (cell phone, etc.) of a user when requested by law enforcement responding to an emergency involving risk of death or serious physical harm. Law enforcement may not request this information for any other purpose and must first consult with the FBI crime center and any other databases to determine if the person requesting the information has a known history of domestic violence, stalking, etc.

This legislation is the result of the tragic kidnapping and death of a young woman in 2007. She had a cell phone on her at the time that may have revealed her location in time for emergency response. However, state law prohibited law enforcement from obtaining her cell phone’s location from her phone provider in a timely manner.

SB 5158 passed out of the Senate unanimously on March 3 and is scheduled for public hearing in the House Public Safety Committee on March 13 at 10 am.

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