Ill. Plan Would Allow Police To Obtain Warrants Via Video Chat

Apr 1, 2013

Credit Flickr/Mid-America Public Safety Police/Fire

Illinois lawmakers are considering a plan that would make it easier for police to get search warrants. A  proposal in the state legislature would allow police and judges to talk over an online video chat.  Currently most warrants have to be obtained in person.

John Carroll is an assistant state's attorney in Cook County. He says getting a warrant can take more time when a judge has to hear testimony from a witness.

"Typically in narcotics, you will meet a judge in a third location," Carroll said. "You wouldn't bring your John Doe witness to the judge's home.”

Carroll also says it can be a problem when judges are out of town. Instead of trying to contact another one, Carroll says meeting over the Internet would speed up the process and save police time.

Senator Dale Righter, a Republican from Mattoon who's sponsoring the measure, says it's important for law enforcement to keep pace with technological advances.

“The other side, the criminal community, is using technology to speed up their endeavors," Righter said. "Law enforcement needs to do the same thing.” 

Police would still be limited to seeking warrants from judges in their jurisdiction.