A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling requiring law enforcement obtain search warrants before attaching GPS devices to vehicles will have little effect in Washington state.
State and local agencies in Washington have for several years been required to get a judge's approval before using GPS devices in investigations.
“The decision doesn't affect us on our state cases,” said Washington State Patrol Lt. Mark Brogan. The requirement stems from case law.
Members of local agencies assigned to federal task forces may have used GPS devices without obtaining warrants because they were operating under federal law.
But that must change after the nation's high court ruled 9-0 Monday that it was unconstitutional for the police to attach a small GPS device to a drug-dealing suspect's bumper and track his car for a month
Frank Harrill, agent in in charge of the Spokane office of the FBI, said the agency is “immediately adapting.”
“But in terms of particular steps, I'm not able to make a detailed comment,” he said.