Montgomery Co - New L.E. Toy

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Mar 30, 2005
Barnesville, Maryland 20838
Coming home from work this afternoon I picked up an operation on TG 15536 (which is listed in the .db as Announcement).

Interestingly enough, there was some type of search going on in Rockville near the Metro station for a suspect. It was interesting, because it involved lots of Sgt's and Lt's.

Anyway, at some point I hear a Deputy call out "I've got a 21 meter hit" at Rt 355 and Manakee. A female came back and asked "Is that a direct hit on his?" To which the reply was "yep, its his cell."

Apparently, a deputy (it only involved deputies) had a device in his cruiser that allowed him to "ping" either the suspects cell phone directly, or receive movement hits of the cell towers. I'm not sure which it was performing. The deputy got a second hit just up the street, but that was the last I heard of the devices usage.

It may not be very reliable, or perhaps it was a training issue, but after about 15-20 minutes of wild goose chases in various shopping centers, "Base" dispatched a couple deputies all the way up to Germantown. Apparently, Base was working directly with the phone company (no Search Warrants needed anymore?) to acquire the location of the cell phone. A couple deputies eventually apprehended a friend of the suspect who had the phone they were chasing.

As to the rest of the story, the suspect turned in his buddy and said he was at a hospital getting treated for a sprained ankle (which he injured jumping over the stairs at the District Courthouse in Rockville. A quick check of the cell phone revealed a number tracing back to Shady Grove Adventist. Another deputy was dispatched there, and apprehended the suspect in the E.R.

Has anyone else heard this technology being used?


P.S. I'm changing the TG tag in my scanner to read "Sheriff Ops"
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John McClane
Nov 20, 2003
Nakatomi Plaza
All carriers have a dedicated backbone login for LE that allows them to track cellphone usage, location, data, text, calls, etc etc. usually done @ EOC but have heard of officers in the field logging in via MDT.

It's 'only supposed to be used with a warrant', but all that's required is an agency user/pass and a checkbox saying 'I swear it's legal'. LE agencies have been using the 'exigent circumstances' excuse to use it willy-nilly... Since no one really knows when it's in use, no one knows that their rights have been violated...

And they wonder why everyone distrusts them, and *****es when they want to run encryption...

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