Modern GPS tracking anklets have two-way communication which can help offenders make the right decisions, said the president of the company leasing 10 to the City of Williams Lake.
“Let’s say he has to be home on a curfew at seven o’clock, he’s on his way home and he gets a flat tire,” SafeTracks GPS Canada Inc. president Vince Morelli said during a meeting with media Thursday at city hall. “If he doesn’t want to be breached, he can hit the button on the top and it will make a phone call back to our monitoring centre.”
The monitoring centre can communicate with the person wearing the anklet and the person wearing the anklet can communicate back, Morelli added.
During its regular meeting on May 29, city council announced it was signing an agreement with SafeTracks to lease the anklets, with the hope they can be used for monitoring repeat offenders 24 hours a day.
Morelli was in Williams Lake to meet with representatives of City council and staff, the RCMP and BC Corrections to discuss use of the technology.
All of the anklets are water-proof and ocean-approved and weigh about one and a half pounds each.
If the wearer tries to remove it, or goes into a no-go zone, an alarm goes off.
Coun. Scott Nelson said he was interested to learn Thursday there are approximately 22,400 clients under supervision by BC Corrections, however, only 50 people across the province are under the GPS “buddy” tracking system.
“In Williams Lake we have in excess of 850 curfew checks a year, one of the highest in the province, and in excess of 100 clients,” Nelson said. “There is only one person on the buddy system – in 100 Mile House.”
Nelson said there is a significant gap in the opportunity to assist police in Williams Lake and across B.C. and the GPS tracking system would give them another tool.
“When you look at the numbers, you see we have a serious problem,” Nelson added.
Morelli said his company’s GPS tracking monitoring centre provides a map showing where the person wearing the anklet has gone by receiving a GPS point of reference every 15 seconds, which it then maps every minute.
Mayor Walt Cobb said previously it will still be up to judges to decide when sentencing if someone will be required to wear the anklets or not.
Nelson, however, said city council will be pushing for increased use of them.