Bipartisan Public Safety Bill Gets Strong Support

(April 23) – A bill to assist law enforcement locate people facing imminent harm passed the House Judiciary Committee unanimously today.

HB13-1308, sponsored by Reps. Daniel Kagan (D-Cherry Hills Village) and Bob Gardner (R-Colorado Springs), allows a law enforcement agency to direct an employee of cellular service provider to provide location information of a person without a court order. The law enforcement agency must have probable cause to believe that an emergency situation exists and the time required to obtain a search warrant or other court order would exacerbate the risk of death or serious bodily injury to the person or another person within his or her company. Additionally, the bill requires that law enforcement seek a court order demonstrating the information was acquired legally to prevent abuse.

“This bill really will save lives and save people from serious bodily injury,” Rep. Kagan said. “I am proud of the bipartisan cooperation from all stakeholders on this bill who have made efforts to ensure privacy while also promoting the public safety of all Coloradans.”

The bill is modeled after other legislation that was in response to the Kelsey Smith case. Kelsey Smith was abducted, raped and killed in Kansas in 2007, and it took four days for the cell phone carrier to release her location because the law wasn’t clear as to whether the company could release that information. Within 45 minutes of the company releasing her cellular location information, Smith’s body was found. Her father, Kansas State Sen. Greg Smith testified in support of the bill.

Those supporting the bill include the Denver Policy Department, Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police, the Colorado Sheriffs, the Colorado District Attorneys, the Department of Public Safety, Sprint Cellular, Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey, the Attorney General’s Office, Verizon Cellular and the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar Association.

“Just this past week in Watertown, we saw how valuable access to cell phone data can be when it comes to saving lives,” Rep. Gardner said. “This bill will save lives and put violent individuals behind bars.”

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