KS AG Schmidt urges Congress to enact federal law allowing officers access to phone GPS data in emergencies

By  | 

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, along with Arkansas AG Leslie Rutledge, is urging the U.S. Congress to enact the Kelsey Smith Act at a national level.

The act gives law enforcement officers the ability to locate people facing death or serious bodily harm in emergency situations.

“As the chief legal officers of our states, we write to urge you to enact the Kelsey Smith Act, legislation to give law enforcement officers the tools they need to keep our communities safe in the 21st Century,” Schmidt and Rutledge wrote in a letter to Congress. “Each of our states was an early adopter of a state-level version of the Act, and we can attest to its critical importance in saving lives during abductions and other emergency situations.”

The act, which would require cell phone providers to turn over geographic location information to law enforcement officers in emergency situations, is sponsored by Sen. Pat Roberts and Rep. Ron Estes.

While 24 states, including Kansas and Arkansas, have adopted similar versions of the law at the state level, there is currently no federal law of the same nature.

The Kelsey Smith Act draws its name from the case of an 18-year-old girl, Kelsey Smith, who was raped and murdered after being abducted in 2007. Law enforcement officials were denied requested geographic coordinates from her cell phone provider until several days later. Then, the officers found Smith's body within 45 minutes of acquiring the information.

The Attorneys' General letter can be viewed here.