TOPEKA, KS — Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt is urging the U.S. Congress to pass the Kelsey Smith Act, which would provide law enforcement officers the location of individuals facing death or serious bodily harm in an emergency situation.
Schmidt and Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge wrote a letter to Congress today saying “As the chief legal officers of our states, we write to urge you to enact the Kelsey Smith Act, legislation to give law enforcement officers the tools they need to keep our communities safe in the 21st Century.”
This legislation would require cell phone providers to turn over geographic location information to law enforcement officers in emergency situations. Currently, there is no federal law requiring cell phone providers to give the location of an individual in an emergency situation.
The Kelsey Smith Act draws from the case of 18-year-old Kelsey Smith, who was raped and murdered after being abducted in broad daylight outside a retail store in Overland Park in 2007. She was found about 20 miles from where she was abducted.
Law officials and Smith’s family requested her cell phone provider to turn over her geographic coordinates, but were denied for several days due to no obligation to compel the information.
Today, the letter that was sent to Congress cites recent examples from both Kansas and Arkansas in which officers were able to use the authority under their state laws to locate and potentially save individuals in emergency situations.
The legislation is sponsored by Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan. and Rep. Ron Estes, R-Kan.