After months of advocating for the use of GPS monitoring of prolific offenders, Williams Lake City Council seem to have gotten what they were looking for.
Chief administrative officer Milo MacDonald announced at the Tuesday, Feb. 25 council meeting that six prolific offenders have been recommended for GPS monitoring.
This move comes after pressure from Council and lakecity residents on the courts and Crown Counsel to implement GPS monitoring on high-risk prolific offenders. The news was welcomed by Coun. Scott Nelson, who spearheaded the lakecity’s push for GPS monitoring. Nelson said this is only the beginning.
“I think Council and the community has been extraordinarily proactive in encouraging the electronic monitoring on individuals who have been causing problems in our community,” Nelson said.
Nelson said that by prolific offenders he means individuals who have on their record in excess of 200 charges and 30 to 50 breaches who simply don’t appear where they’re supposed to be at. This technology he feels is an important part of curtailing this behaviour as it gives the RCMP additional tools to prevent crime and monitor these offenders.
“Six months ago we had zero. Today we’ve got six, so we’re starting to lead the pack,” Nelson said. “Obviously we’d like to see all prolific offenders in our community have the GPS and I think the community should really be proud we’re moving in this direction.”
While he’s happy to see this tool being implemented he knows there are more prolific offenders out there so he’d like to encourage the RCMP, Crown and judges to continue to consider putting GPS ankle bracelets on offenders while they’re out on court bail. Nelson said that he thinks the community will only be fully satisfied when all of the lakecity’s prolific offenders are placed on GPS monitoring. By his rough estimate, there is another 10 to 15 individuals that should be placed under this monitoring in the future.
The community, Nelson feels, deserves the majority of the credit for this result as their backing has allowed Council to make the headway they have thus far. He also thanked Crown and the judges for balancing the individual’s rights and the community’s rights and beginning to consider the community more often. Nelson ended by thanking Insp. Jeff Pelley and the Williams Lake RCMP for their relentless work in tackling crime and caring for the community.
MacDonald agreed with Nelson and was appreciative of how receptive the Crown was at listening to the public’s feedback, to their credit.
“In the long run I think that kind of policy change is going to pay dividends in public safety and make the police’s job easier. It’s beneficial to offenders to because they have an opportunity to stay at home and keep working and be with their families and not have to get shipped off to jail,” MacDonald said.
MacDonald feels this really is a win for everybody and that it will make a real difference in the community going forward.