STATEHOUSE (March 3, 2016) – State Rep. Eric Koch’s (R-Bedford) bill that would allow law enforcement to obtain cell phone location data more quickly from wireless carriers in emergency situations is on its way to the governor’s desk.
House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1013 is named after Kelsey Smith, a Kansas resident who was kidnapped and murdered in 2007. Despite efforts by local law enforcement, it took Smith’s cell phone provider nearly four days to produce her geolocation, or “ping” records, to investigators due to privacy laws governing such requests.
"I appreciate our state's telecommunications companies and our law enforcement agencies working together with me to ensure that someone in an emergency situation can be located in a timely manner,” Koch said. “Preventing what happened to Kelsey Smith from being repeated in Indiana is our goal and this bill provides a practical solution to the issues involved in that situation.”
The bill would create a legal framework within which wireless phone companies must respond immediately to law enforcement requests for location information of victims who are in jeopardy of death or serious physical harm. In addition, it would establish procedures for better coordination between law enforcement agencies and cell phone carriers during emergencies.
Indiana would join 20 other states that have already passed legislation similar to the Kelsey Smith Act.
The Indiana State Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), Indiana Chiefs of Police, and the Indiana Sheriffs’ Association are among those who supported the bill.
The Kelsey Smith Act will now move on to the governor for consideration.
Rep. Koch (R-Bedford) represents all of Brown County, most of Lawrence County and parts of Monroe, Jackson and Johnson counties.
NOTE TO THE EDITOR: Click here to download a high-definition, on-camera interview with Rep. Koch regarding HEA 1013.