Sen. Hutchison’s Cell Phone Jamming Bill Gains Support of Key Law Enforcement Organization

July 30, 2009

WASHINGTON The National Fraternal Order of Police has issued its support for legislation introduced by U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), the ranking member on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, that would allow prisons to use technology to block usage of illicit cellular phones by convicts. The Safe Prisons Communications Act of 2009, S. 251, would prevent prison inmates from using smuggled cell phones by allowing states to petition to operate wireless jamming devices in particular correctional facilities.

“Regrettably, prisons are barred from jamming cell phones under the Federal Communications Act. Sen. Hutchison’s legislation addresses this problem head-on by allowing State and Federal correctional facilities to petition the FCC for a waiver allowing the jamming of cell phone signals within the boundaries of the prison,” said Chuck Canterbury, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police.

“Inmates armed with cell phones pose a dangerous threat to law enforcement officials and the public. Our prisons are working to meet this challenge, but traditional security measures, such as trained dogs, handheld scanners, and metal detectors have proven ineffective. We must provide corrections officers with a comprehensive solution that includes the tools necessary to prevent the use of phones when they evade detection and discovery,” said Sen. Hutchison.  “I have been working with law enforcement officers and corrections professionals to address this problem, and my legislation would establish a process for granting prisons authority to use cell phone signal jamming equipment.”

On behalf of the 327,000 members of the National Fraternal Order of Police, Mr. Canterbury sent a letter of endorsement to Sen. Hutchison, pledging support for the Safe Prisons Communications Act of 2009.

The letter of endorsement may be read here.

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RELEASE: Senator Hutchison Pushes to Allow Prisons to Block Inmate Cell Phone Calls