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Regional & National

Wiretap usage by police, prosecutors soars in Tennessee

July 14th, 2011 10:37 am by Brian Haas

NASHVILLE — In Tennessee and across the nation, police and prosecutors are relying more heavily on wiretaps.

They say listening in on suspects’ cellphone calls is an effective way to combat drug trafficking and gang activity, but defense attorneys say the government should be careful not to go too far.

According to the newly published Wiretap Report by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, authorities across the nation acquired more wiretap orders in 2010 than any prior year — 3,194 cases — which is a 168 percent jump since 1997. Nashville, which accounted for nearly every wiretap order in Tennessee during that same time frame, has gone from zero wiretaps a decade ago to one every 11 days in 2010. That includes both local and federal authorities.

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