Bill would keep police out of ‘voluntary’ checkpoints

Capital News Service
LANSING — Police agencies shouldn’t be allowed to help research groups and private companies take blood, urine, saliva and other samples from drivers who stop at voluntary checkpoints, some lawmakers say. The practice of law enforcement officers directing vehicles off the road at so-called voluntary checkpoints creates “fear and intimidation,” said Rep. Jim Runestad, a White Lake Republican and lead sponsor of a new bill that would outlaw such assistance. Drivers who pull over are then asked to provide cheek swabs to provide data to private companies on alcohol and drug use that can “inhibit their driving,” Runestad said. The information can then be used, for example, to design drugged and drunken driving programs.

Co-sponsor Joel Johnson, R-Clare, said he’s heard from people who learned of the practice on Facebook and “are a little concerned. When you have police participating in a voluntary checkpoint, it doesn’t feel voluntary.”
In addition, Johnson said law enforcement agency participation also ties up limited police resources.

Bill would speed tracking of missing people’s cell phones

Capital News Service
LANSING — Turn on any crime show, such as CSI, and you’ll see a scene like this: The police identify a suspect, and within seconds a tech expert has traced the cell phone to the perp’s exact GPS coordinates. “I’ve had several people ask me, ‘You can already do that, right?’” said Terry Jungel, executive director of the Michigan Sheriffs’ Association. “But it’s not that easy.”
While federal legislation allows cellular providers to turn over a user’s location information, it does not require them to do so, unless the police have a warrant. In some cases–such as an abduction or a wandering Alzheimer’s patient– the time taken to obtain a warrant may mean the difference between life and death. Across the country, 17 states have passed what is commonly referred to as “Kelsey Smith Acts,” designed to expedite cellular location tracking.