Fla. Police Obtain Search Warrants via Skype

PALM BAY, Fla. --

The Palm Bay Police Department said one of its officers has figured out how to expedite the process of obtaining a search warrant by using the popular Internet chat service Skype.

Police released a statement Monday that said drug recognition expert Cpl. Darin Morgan developed a process that uses Skype to link law enforcement with a local judge.

In a case involving an impaired driver or a dangerous criminal, police said, a judge can grant officers blood search and arrest warrants.

"When it comes to impairment, time is of the essence," Morgan said in the statement.

With a webcam in his patrol car, Morgan said he is able to communicate with Judge David Silverman as well as prosecutors with the state attorney's office.

After the officer emails appropriate documents to the judge, the two connect via Skype for official testimony, police said.

"The goal is get the most accurate capture of evidence closest to the time of the incident and our experience using Skype helps us do that," Morgan said.

Morgan said he thinks of the online link between law enforcement and the judge a "virtual office and courtroom."

Police said their department is working with the Brevard County court system to develop a procedure that can be used by other law enforcement agencies.

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