Bill Aims to Restrict Law-Enforcement Searches

By Beacon Staff

Lawmakers are considering a measure that would require law-enforcement officers to have a reasonable suspicion before they can conduct strip or body cavity searches.

The bill would allow such searches only in situations where a person is suspected of a crime, of carrying a weapon or of carrying contraband.

Democratic Sen. Anders Blewett of Great Falls says Senate Bill 194 would provide needed clarification of when police can conduct searches. He presented the measure Friday in the House Judiciary Committee.

Montana Sheriff and Peace Officers Association executive director Jim Smith says Montana detention facilities already have clear regulations regarding strip and body cavity searches.

The bill has passed the Senate but needs the committee’s endorsement to go before the full House.

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