Sacramento County Sheriff holds press conference about the use of Stingrays

Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones is talking to the media Tuesday about radio frequency measurement equipment, also commonly referred to as ‘Stingrays’.

ABC10 reported on the department’s use of Stingrays over the last year. In fact, following ABC10’s reporting of the use of the device, Sacramento County Sheriff’s deputies refused to allow our reporter, Thom Jensen, attend Tuesday’s press conference. He was held at the door, and informed there was a directive from Sheriff Jones not to allow Jensen in.

Earlier this month Sheriff’s Jones announced his department will now ask judges for permission to use the controversial surveillance device. This came just hours after the United States Department of Justice announced that it will require all federal agents to get a court approved search warrant before they use the so-called “cell site simulators.”

Several law enforcement agencies, which use the technology, told ABC10 that their Stingrays only give callers’ GPS locations and show the numbers target phones are calling and receiving.

The Department of Justice policy change on “Stingrays”, which went in effect immediately states, “law enforcement agents must now obtain a search warrant supported by probable cause before using a cell-site simulator.”

It goes on to say, “all data must be deleted as soon as that device is located, and no less than once daily.”

It also clarifies in writing that all, “data contained on the phone itself, such as emails, texts, contact lists and images, may not be collected using this technology.”

In his statement, Jones said his department was already working on new Stingray policies before the DOJ released its changes. In part he said, “our new policy will require judicial authorization specific to the use of the technology before its use.”


Agencies Will now get warrants before using cell site simulators

Jones and the DOJ said they still may use the devices in certain emergency situations like kidnappings and in search and rescue operations.

Previous ABC10 investigations found no mention of a single Stingray or cell site simulator in warrant applications filed with the Sacramento Superior Court.

Well gosh golly, after everyone denying the existence of the Stingrays for so long they are now trying to act like they are public minded and respect people rights and privacy. But they are still going to do what they did before and just deny it like they did before.

But then turn around a deny entrance to the press conference to one of the local reporters. They are such a class act these days.