Sunday, May 15, 2005

Cops say written consent okay

Corpus Christi police say they don't oppose a requirement for written consent to conduct no-cause searches of vehicles at traffic stops that's currently making its way through the Texas Legislature. Reported the Caller Times:

Police Cmdr. Bryan Smith said many officers already use written consent because it makes their cases against criminals stronger.

Cmdr. Mike Walsh, who is in charge of the department's Criminal Investigation Division and Family Violence Unit, said his detectives usually only deal with written consent for that reason.

"(The verbal consent) is mostly in situations like traffic stops," Walsh said. "Where an officer has a sense something is wrong maybe a sixth sense."

Walsh, like Smith, said he didn't believe having to have written consent to search someone's car would have a significant impact on the department.

In Austin when a requirement for written consent was implemented, the number of people consenting to searches at traffic stops declined by 63%. UPDATE (5-16) The Star Telegram covered this story today.

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