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Lawyer Worried About Sheriff's Surveillance Technology

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) Is the Erie County Sheriff's Office using surveillance technology to intercept cell phone calls?

If so, one lawyer wants to know if deputies are meeting a constitutional requirement first.

Attorney Barry Covert has several questions for deputies and Sheriff Tim Howard.

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Erie Co. Legislator Ed Rath (R-Amherst)

NY Sen. Patrick Gallivan, former Erie Co. Sheriff
"Have you utilized the device, when, how often, and have you obtained search warrants to utilize the device? If they simply answer those questions without more investigative detail, they'd be able to put a lot of us at ease with regards to our fourth amendment rights," says Covert.

He says he's been concerned since word came out the sheriff's office has technology with cell device locating capabilities. "We don't even know whether our communications were obtained, whether they were downloaded, used or shared with other agencies," notes Covert.

Sheriff Howard issued this statement Friday,

"The Erie County Sheriff's Office owns and operates certain technologies with cellular device locating capabilities. The Sheriff's Office does not, nor ever has, owned or operated any technology that allows for the interception of cell phone calls or text messages. This technology was most recently used in the Town of Boston shootout where two Sheriff's vehicles were shot-up and two Officers nearly killed."

      Legislator Patrick B. Burke, a south Buffalo Democrat issued the following statement in response: 

“The existence of this sort of technology is a grave responsibility, and it is my duty as a Legislator to ensure that there are safeguards in place to protect the rights of the citizens of Erie County from potential abuse.  I don’t appreciate the Sheriff trying to gloss over seriousness of this matter by bringing up the recent events in the Town of Boston, and ignoring the real issue.  I expect that he will be in attendance next Thursday at the Public Safety Committee to personally answer questions from the Legislature regarding the usage history of the devices and proof of the safeguards he has in place to protect the constitutional rights of innocent citizens.”


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Topics : Law_CrimeTechnology_Internet
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Locations : BostonBuffalo
People : Barry CovertTim Howard
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