Gov. Fallin Suspends Use Of Controversial Card Readers

Saturday, June 18th 2016, 10:40 pm
By: News 9

Gov. Mary Fallin put the brakes on the use of card reading devices used by law enforcement.

It's been a highly contested concept, but for now, the readers will not be used.

The readers have only been in use for about a month and were supposed to help law enforcement catch identity thieves.

"I think there were too many questions," State Sen. Kyle Loveless said.

Fallin decided to hold off until there's more clarity with policies and procedures in how they're used.

"To have procedures to make sure the legal aspect of it, the constitutional aspect of it and the privacy aspect of it making sure that that's nailed down," Loveless said.

The readers are called electronic recovery and access to data readers, or ERADs, and OHP has had about 20 of them for a month, but has not used them to seize any money yet.

"We're battling perception now," Department of Public Safety Director Michael Thompson said. "Unfortunately for us, sometimes perception is reality, and if this technology causes people to have any lack of faith or confidence in the highway patrol, we're not going to do that."

It has been a problem in other areas.

"Because as we've seen in Muskogee, Texas County and all these other places innocent people's stuff," Loveless said. "If a missionary's money is not safe, your money and my money is not safe either."

Twenty-five other states have the program in place, and Loveless wants to reform Oklahoma's forfeiture laws and come up with a compromise that works for both law enforcement and innocent people.

"What I want to do is make sure we protect innocent people's stuff, and I think that using the model's from other states will be able to do that," Loveless said.

Another area of concern is in Oklahoma, the ERAD Group will get more than a 7 percent cut of all funds seized using the card readers. It's much less in other states. DPS officials say they knew the suspension of the devices was coming, and the halt makes perfect sense.

"It would just help them do their job a little bit better, but the thing that Oklahomans need to know is we can do our job without this technology, and we will," Thompson said.

Loveless said he's been working with the district attorney's counsel and the sheriff's association to come up with a plan.