Oklahoma Delays Implementation of Card Reading Devices for Police

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol has had the data readers for about a month, but they've gone unused and will continue to sit idle until a clear policy can be established.

by Rick Green, The Oklahoman, Oklahoma City / June 20, 2016

(TNS) -- Gov. Mary Fallin on Friday ordered the Oklahoma Highway Patrol to delay use of devices that read magnetic strips on credit, debit and gift cards.

"The Department of Public Safety needs to formulate a clear policy for using this new technology,” said Fallin. “It can be a viable tool for law enforcement only if authorities are able to ensure Oklahoma motorists and others driving through our state that it will be used appropriately.”

Commissioner of Public Safety Michael Thompson said the card readers can help fight crime when troopers have reasonable suspicion of offenses like identity theft, credit card fraud or drug trafficking.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol has had the Electronic Recovery and Access to Data readers for about a month. The agency purchased 20 card readers, with 16 assigned to troopers. None of the devices have been used to seize any funds.

More than 25 states use the card-reading devices. Their use has been upheld by courts.

Some groups and lawmakers have raised concerns that the devices could be misused.

“The Oklahoma Highway Patrol has enjoyed the trust of Oklahoma motorists for decades,'' Fallin said. “Taking time to develop policy for the use of these devices and to educate the public will help calm the fears of the motoring public."

©2016 The Oklahoman Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.