Supreme Court ruling allows police to stop drivers on an anonymous tip
Eau Claire (WQOW) - A U.S. Supreme Court ruling is giving law enforcement more power to pull someone over. Last week, the court said officers will now be able to stop someone based on an anonymous tip.
Taking traffic complaints is a routine part of the job for Chippewa Falls police officers. But a recent Supreme Court ruling now gives them a chance to pull over vehicles based solely on tips from anonymous callers.
"The fact that drunk drivers will be taken off the road based on important information is a good thing. As well as it gives officers the confidence that their decisions are going to be backed in court," said Joe Nelson, Chippewa Falls Police Department officer.
"It chips away at the fourth amendment; it chips away at our protections. It's not just something a criminal defendant needs. These are protections for everybody. An ex-boyfriend, an ex-girlfriend could be upset, and unfortunately call in anonymous tip that doesn't have any other indications of reliability, and cause you to get stopped for no reason," said Sarah Harless, Hartel Law Attorney.
Although the ruling gives officers more leeway to make a stop, they say it's not a guarantee.
"If it's clear that there isn't any sort of violation going on, and officers don't have a reason to stop them, we're not going to nitpick because we get an anonymous tip," explained Nelson.
Chippewa Falls police say the 911 system typically has a way to identify the person calling. We are told the caller's identity remains anonymous unless the courts step in.