Sens. Moran, Blunt, Fischer Reintroduce Kelsey Smith Act to Aid Law Enforcement in Locating Kidnap Victims
Feb 25 2021
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) today reintroduced the Kelsey Smith Act to require wireless communication providers to provide call location information to law enforcement officials when responding to a call for emergency service or in an emergency situation that involves the risk of death or serious physical harm.
This legislation is named after Kelsey Smith, who was abducted in broad daylight from an Overland Park, Kansas, department store and murdered on June 2, 2007. The abduction was captured on the store’s security camera, leaving little doubt of the emergency nature of the circumstances. Four days after she disappeared, authorities were able to locate Kelsey’s body after her wireless provider released the “ping” or “call location” information from her cell phone. Providing this information as fast as possible is critical to ensure law enforcement officials can rescue victims in imminent danger of death or serious harm when every second counts.
It also ensures that professional law enforcement officials in the field, not a phone company, are able to determine if an individual is in an emergency situation. This legislation includes checks to guard against government overreach, while also allowing law enforcement to act quickly to help individuals in grave danger. Kelsey Smith’s parents, Missey and Greg Smith, have fought to successfully pass this legislation in 27 states and are continuing to work to make it federal law.
“Kelsey Smith’s tragic abduction sent shockwaves through the Overland Park community and the country,” said Sen. Moran. “In honor of their daughter and to aid law enforcement in rescuing kidnap victims, Greg and Missey Smith have worked tirelessly to support the passage of the Kelsey Smith Act in state legislatures around the country and here in Washington D.C. This legislation will make certain first responders have the tools they need to quickly locate people who have been abducted, and I urge my colleagues to support this sensible bill to help save lives.”
“The Smith family experienced a terrible tragedy that was made even more agonizing by the delay in finding their daughter, Kelsey,” said Sen. Blunt. “The Kelsey Smith Act will provide law enforcement an important tool in their efforts to find and save the lives of kidnapping victims. This bill, which takes a narrowly crafted approach to balancing law enforcement needs and privacy concerns, will bring federal law in line with the laws that are already on the books in Missouri and many other states. I urge my Senate colleagues to support us in honoring Kelsey by getting this bill to the president’s desk.”
“When someone’s life is at risk, it is critical that law enforcement has the tools to respond as quickly as possible,” said Sen. Fischer. “By rapidly providing law enforcement with victims’ call location information, the Kelsey Smith Act will save the lives of innocent people while ensuring there is accountability for such requests.”
“We would like to thank Senator Moran for taking the lead on the continued effort to pass the Kelsey Smith Act at the federal level,” said Greg and Missey Smith. “He has been a cosponsor since the beginning of this journey. We would be remiss to not thank Senator Roberts and his staff for all of their efforts and work and coordinating all of the alliances in support of this legislation. We continue to be hopeful that it will pass on the federal level as it has now passed in 27 states and is being worked in at least seven more this session.”
"It is critical to public safety that law enforcement have the tools to swiftly access and collect digital evidence when a life is on the line," said Patrick Yoes, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police. "We're grateful to be working with Senator Moran on this legislation and look forward to getting it to the Senate floor."
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