Bills to give law enforcement officers more power pass Senate Committee

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Montgomery Alabama police car

The Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday approved two bills aimed at giving more power to law enforcement officers. One would allow tracking devices to be placed on vehicles once a search warrant is attained and the other would allow officers to issue citations at the scene of an accident for crimes they did not witness.

HB96 from Rep. Christopher England (D-Tuscaloosa) makes uniform the process by which local law enforcement can attach an electronic tracking device to suspects’ vehicles. England noted that such strategies are already employed across the state, but many counties have varying procedures for how they are executed – his bill would make the process the same in every county.

HB1 from Rep. Phillip Pettus (R-Killen) passed both the House and Senate last year but was ultimately vetoed by Gov. Robert Bentley for allegedly undermining current DUI laws.

“This is one of those bills I had a problem with last year,” Sen. Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro) said, claiming the bill gives too much power to law enforcement officers.  “I just have a fundamental problem with an officer subjectively driving up to a scene and issuing a citation for something they didn’t see, especially for a non-moving violation.”

An amendment brought forth by Sen. Rodger Smitherman (D-Birmingham) addressed those concerns and the bill received a favorable report.

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