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USMS Regional Fugitive Task Force

January 27, 2011

The Honorable Eric Holder
Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530

Dear Attorney General Holder:

In light of the recent killings of four police officers in Florida, I am writing to request that you determine whether members of the U.S. Marshals Service regional fugitive task forces should have the use of hand-held radar devices that provide "sense-through-the-wall" surveillance, or other appropriate new technology, like thermal-imaging cameras.

Sadly, these four officers were killed while on manhunts for dangerous fugitives in Miami and St. Petersburg. In the St. Petersburg gunfight, the suspect was hiding in the attic of a house. In the exchange of gunfire, a deputy U.S. Marshal also was wounded.

My staff has informed me that the expanded use of appropriate technologies for agents on these federal task forces - law enforcement officers whose duties include serving warrants and apprehending wanted felons - could greatly shift the odds to the good guys, before they have to enter a building where a fugitive is hiding out.

Please consider my request as part of your review of the recent killings of these law enforcement officers. I would like to know whether we should offer legislation to create a pilot program for use in limited circumstances involving the apprehension of fugitives believed to be armed and dangerous. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter, and I look forward to your response. If you or your staff have any questions, please contact my counsel, Stephanie Mickle at (202) 224-1554.

Sincerely,

Bill Nelson
United States Senate