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Cell Phone Tracking System Approved By Fort Worth City Council

The City Council of Fort Worth, TX has authorized the Police Department to purchase a portable system to track cellphones.

The new tracking system will “exponentially increase the ability” of police to “combat criminal activity.” Council members agreed to spend $184,000 for the new cell phone tracking system, reported the Star-Telegram.

Law enforcement wants to install the new tracking system because of Supreme Court’s recent decision about warrantless GPS tracking.

In January, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that placing a GPS tracking device on a vehicle constitutes a “search” within the definition of the Fourth Amendment and therefore requires a warrant to be constitutional.

The Supreme Court has ruled that law enforcement officers must get warrants before they install a global-positioning tracking system on a vehicle.

Fort Worth police will continue to ensure private citizens’ constitutional rights are protected by securing search warrants and court orders based on probable cause,” police Maj. Paul Henderson said in an e-mailed statement.

It’s the “developing probable cause” part of the city’s memo that Lisa Graybill, the Texas legal director of the American Civil Liberty Union Texas, questioned Wednesday.

“You want the Police Department to develop probable cause to show that there has been a crime committed or that there is the likelihood that a crime will be committed before they use this technology,” Graybill said.

Mayor Betsy Price said Wednesday in an e-mailed statement: “I support [Chief Jeff Halstead’s] recommendation with the knowledge that our police department will use this tool to protect our neighborhoods without violating due process or the constitutional rights of our citizens.”