GPS Tracking Offenders in Mesa County

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Mesa County Non–Residential services is tracking more than 35 people with GPS.
And while GPS monitoring is not new, advancements in GPS technology is making it more effective.

Don Wilson with Criminal Justice Services says Mesa County has been using GPS tracking for almost eight years.

Don Wilson says, "this is a great tool that has a lot of promise as it gets better and better more defined and easier to apply."
However, there are concerns that GPS doesn't address the real problems.

Judge Bottger says, "if we are really going to address public safety and reducing crime, its long term behavior, changing peoples habits, changing who they associate with, changing what they do, GPS device just isn't effective for that purpose."

Chief Probation Officer for the 21st Judicial District Susan Gilbert says her department uses GPS to monitor up to five people.
"The down side to it or the sad side to it is it does not necessarily prevent somebody from committing a new offense," says Gilbert.

Gilbert says GPS does have its benefits. "For a certain population I do believe it's a deterrent or it makes them stop and think," says Gilbert.
And for some victims knowing the court is watching out for them is a great comfort.

Most agree GPS does have its uses. Mesa County Judge David Bottger says it can make a difference.
"It's a useful tool for public safety and also we hope helps keep the jail population manageable...its just not appropriate for everybody," says Bottger.

But with advancement in technology we could see GPS use increase.
Wilson says, "96 percent of them complete their sentencing successfully and move on."
Judge Bottger says, "our goal is to promote public safety and the best way to do that is to prevent the next crime and that's what we aught to be focusing on."

Offenders are charged about 15 dollars a day for active GPS tracking and 10 a day for passive tracking. The units are leased to the county by the day and with GPS getting smaller, more precise and cheaper we will most likely see their use increase.

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