A bill in the Senate authored by freshman Senator Tyler McCaughn would allow for local sheriffs to possess, operate and monitor some devices.

SB 2010 adds local sheriffs’ departments to the existing law that gives selected law enforcement such access. Sheriffs would be able to implement a basic wire tap to monitor devices in an investigation. Currently, the Bureau of Narcotics is the lone agency to possess this ability.

The bill reads: 

No person, agency of the state or political subdivision of the state, other than the Bureau of Narcotics or a law enforcement officer employed by a Mississippi Sheriff’s Department, is authorized by this article to own, possess, install, operate or monitor an electronic, mechanical or other device. The Bureau of Narcotics or a Mississippi sheriff’s department may be assisted by an investigative or law enforcement¬† officer in the operation and monitoring of an interception of wire, oral or other communications, provided that an agent of the Bureau of Narcotics or a law enforcement officer employed by the sheriff’s department is present at all times.

The sheriffs would be required to designate in writing which deputies are responsible for the possession, installation, operation and monitoring of electronic, mechanical or other devices for the bureau.

The bill was referred to the Judiciary B and Accountability, Efficiency, Transparency Committees in the Senate. It is currently under the February 2 General bills deadline.