Officers are being briefed during roll calls, new procedures are in place, and prosecutors are considering the effect on potentially thousands of pending court cases after the Supreme Court's ruling that restricts police searches of cellphones.
From Los Angeles to New York, and in San Diego, Chicago and Houston, officials met to discuss Wednesday's unanimous ruling that could make it harder for officers to quickly find incriminating evidence. The ruling prohibits law enforcement from searching an arrestee's cellphone without a warrant unless a person's safety or life may be in danger.
Because cellphone technology has so rapidly advanced over the last decade, more information than ever before — including personal documents, photos and emails — is now stored on these devices. For investigators, they can be a treasure trove of suspects' pictures with fellow gang members, not to mention text messages and call records that help police find accomplices or victims.
Few, if any, in law enforcement circles were surprised by the high court's ruling, and they said many cautious investigators were already getting warrants to ensure evidence doesn't get tossed out of trials. But they also universally acknowledged that it would make their jobs more difficult, especially for the rank-and-file patrol officer.