Good Cop, Bad Cop GPS Use

A small town “hick sheriff” from Burley should get national acclaim for his use of sophisticated GPS tracking gear to fight crime the RIGHT way with a tactic that would have made Andy Griffith of Mayberry fame “right proud.”

Cassia County Sheriff Randy Kidd had a problem with folks stealing copper wire from farms and construction sites, so he embedded a GPS tracking device in a coil of unattended wire at an irrigation pump. On Sunday the device alerted coppers of the copper wire movement which led to an arrest where the suspect in a vehicle had the ill gotten goods in his possession.

On the flip side of the “good cop” high tech copper caper is the case of the “bad cop” FBI agents who violated the constitution by placing a similar device on the car of a suspected drug dealer WITHOUT A WARRANT OR COURT ORDER. They tracked the suspect in the Washington, D.C. area, made an arrest and got a conviction. The dealer was sentenced to life in prison, but the FBI’s illegal conduct prompted the United States Supreme Court to overturn the conviction Monday, according to NEWS REPORTS.

The conclusion is that placing GPS monitors on vehicles without permission is a violation of the Constitution of the United States of America and amounts to a warrantless search. Same device placed in goods prior to theft is good police work.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. So what’s your point? Are material goods now people too? Good thing they don’t have the money to start a super pac also.

  2. Think it’s more Smart Cop, Stupid Cop.

    Ericin 1300(Is that your real name?): I thought point was clear: Messing with someone else’s vehicle (by putting a GPS on it) because you *suspect* he might be a bad guy is a no-no.
    Messing with something that you have permission to mess with (by putting a GPS in it) is OK — and then if the bad guy happens to steal the GPS along with the item it’s in, that’s his tough luck.
    You could hide a GPS in your own vehicle, and track it if someone stole it.

    Got it?

  3. Guardian,
    Before you accuse the FBI of doing something illegal, get the time line right. This was unclear case law. The reason it went to the Supremes was for a ruling on the legality of the act of putting a GPS on a vehicle with out a warrant. The court ruled, and NOW it requires a warrant. Prior to this ruling, it did not require a warrant. The FBI did nothing illegal in this case.

    EDITOR NOTE–FBI revealed recently in Missouri US District Court that they did the GPS activity “in the low two thousands” each year. If you read the details of the Monday Supremes case, the FBI did indeed act illegally. They were not within the time frame or geography of a court order that had previously been issued. You have to play by the rules or forfeit the game. In this case, a convicted drug kingpin could go free because the FBI disregarded the law. The Supremes decision also clarified the need for a search warrant.

  4. It is a pretty simple deal to get a Judge to sign off on this kind of thing if the deal is legit. Do it by the book or your case will get tossed. The Constitution protects all of us “innocent until proven guilty” works for me.

    Just think back to the Nixon years (if you are old enough) and the enemies list and all the people on it who simply spoke out against Mr. Nixon and his policies. A fair number of his goons went to “club fed” for a few years.

    Civil Liberties and Constitutional Rights need to be protected NO MATTER THE CIRCUMSTANCES! Bad guys will get caught by following the rules.

  5. I would think someone putting a device on a vehical to track someones movement would be very close to stalking. Or is it not stalking if it is a cop that is doing it?

    EDITOR NOTE–The Supremes declared it is a “search” without permission.

  6. 2 questions… not ment to start an arguement….
    1 if you were to find a tracking device on your car and threw it away…. would it be theft?
    2 does that make it ok to put tracking devices on cop cars?

  7. Hey–suddenly the copper “copper” case gets a lead on drug cases. Park a few illegal drugs, a little meth and a few bags of pot in some abandoned house or barn somewhere, GPS- it, and wait for the perps to show.

  8. what do you do when a couple innocent kids find it?

  9. Reminded of the movie “The Thief” with James Caan. The cops are on his tail and he finds A GPS in his car so he takes it and puts it on a Greyhound bus destined for wherever.

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