Bill would allow state, local officers to use wiretapping devices

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Dothan, AL (WTVY)-- A high ranking Dothan police officer supports legislation that would allow state and local law enforcement agencies to use wiretap devices. However, Captain Will Glover also believes there needs to be strict safeguards in place.

“It would have to be scrutinized closely because (we) would be listening to people's private conversations,” Glover told WTVY.
A high ranking Dothan police officer supports legislation that would allow state and local law enforcement agencies to use wiretap devices. However, Captain Will Glover also believes there needs to be strict safeguards in place.

“It would have to be scrutinized closely because (we) would be listening to people's private conversations,” Glover told WTVY.

The bill, sponsored by Representative Rex Reynolds (R-Madison County), would permit local law enforcement to wiretap felony drug offenders such as traffickers.

“You know if they had the ability to have a state wiretap and may have been able to go after that offender in a different way, other than a very volatile, dangerous, drug buy, undercover buy situation (it would be good),” Reynolds told WAFF-TV last month.

His measure specifies wiretapping requests must be approved by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, the state attorney general, and a judge.

Officers would be required to report to that judge during the recordings, and would have to turn over those recordings to the court.

Currently, local and state officers are not allowed to use wiretaps though they can bring in federal agents, who do have that authority, into the investigation.

Glover said the Dothan Police Department only asks for federal wiretaps about once a year. He predicts, even if Reynolds' bill passes, eavesdropping would only be used occasionally.

“(We) would have to prove that (we've) taken every step necessary to investigate that case and (wiretapping) is a last resort,” Glover said.

The bill is named for Billy Clardy III, a Huntsville police officer shot by a suspected drug dealer in December. s.