Governor Jay Nixon’s signature on a law to help law enforcement find the cell phones of missing persons is a welcome sight to a Kansas father.
Kansas state representative Greg Smith and his wife lobbied in Missouri for the fourth time, this year, for the passage of the law named for their daughter, Kelsey, who was kidnapped and murdered in 2007.
For four days while Kelsey was missing, her cell phone service provider would not give law enforcement information on the location of her phone. Once they released that information, it took only 45 minutes to find her body.
Kelsey’s Law requires cell phone providers to share location information for a missing person’s cell phone with a law enforcement agency, when that agency makes the determination that missing person is in danger.
Smith says he knows this law will save lives. He says in other states, it already has.
“There have been cases where someone may have gone missing, say, due to Alzheimer’s or dementia. They wandered off but they had a cell phone and law enforcement was able to utilize the technology to find that person before any harm could come to them. We know of a stroke victim that was unable to speak but he could continually dial his home phone number from his cell phone. That was the only thing he could remember to do and that was enough and law enforcement used the Kelsey Smith Act and they were able to find this gentlemen and get him to a hospital.”
Missouri becomes the eighth state to enact Kelsey’s Law. Smith says there is an effort to pass the law at the federal level as well, and Alberta, Canada is also close to passing it.
Smith says he see this law, and the lives it saves, as a legacy for Kelsey. “I’d take it all back to have Kelsey back, but the fact that we’ve done something … that she’s done something to keep other families from having to go through what we went through and what she went through … it’s nice to know that.”
AUDIO: Mike Lear interviews Greg Smith