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Editorial: Phone locator bill needed for our safety

When searching for missing persons, law enforcement officials need the help of every tool at their disposal. That should include the ability to get appropriate information of the individual's whereabouts via their mobile phone location.

This is especially true with missing person cases of young people, who tend to have mobile phones with them at all times.

A bill is pending in the Legislature that would require mobile telephone companies to provide mobile phone locations to law enforcement in missing person cases.

This bill should be approved by the Legislature.

While current federal law allows mobile phone companies to cooperate with law enforcement agencies in missing person cases, it does not require it.

The proposed bill would require mobile phone companies operating in Minnesota to share information in cases where there is risk of death or serious injury.

While some are concerned about privacy issues, privacy is not the primary concern in missing person cases. The life and safety of the missing person is and should be the primary concern.

The bill only requires mobile phone companies to share the location information with law enforcement agencies, not with family members or other private individuals. Thus, privacy invasion by nosy families would not be a factor.

In the case of missing individuals, minutes and/or hours can make the difference between life and death. This bill will save lives in Minnesota.

We encourage the Legislature to approve this bill for the benefit of all Minnesotans.

Kelly Boldan

Kelly Boldan has been the editor of the West Central Tribune of Willmar, since joining the newspaper in October 2001. He has previously worked as the editor at the Bemidji Pioneer, also part of Forum Communications Co., and other daily newspapers, online Web sites, and weekly agriculture newspapers in Wisconsin, Texas and Minnesota. You can follow via Twitter at @KellyBoldanWCT or read about the Tribune's newsroom blog at: or the Tribune's blog at:

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