Violent offender monitoring program posting good results

A pilot program that tracks domestic violence offenders with GPS ankle monitoring devices in Red Deer is halfway through and the results are encouraging.

A pilot program that tracks domestic violence offenders with GPS ankle monitoring devices in Red Deer is halfway through and the results are encouraging.

Ian Wheeliker, executive director for the Central Alberta Women’s Emergency Shelter, says the program, ending in the spring of 2014, is promising.

“So far so good,” he said on Wednesday.

Work on the three-year project officially started October 2010.

The shelter has partnered with the University of Calgary (U of C), police in Edmonton and Calgary, Red Deer City RCMP, the Crown Attorney’s Office and Community Corrections in Red Deer.

Other jurisdictions are monitoring high-risk offenders through the GPS ankle monitoring program. But in Red Deer the program is specific to domestic violence.

Seven domestic violence offenders are being tracked 24-7 by a monitoring agency through the ankle bracelets, which are equipped with a built-in cell phone and radio frequency.

The offenders would have been sentenced for a domestic violence crime and required to wear the GPS bracelet as part of a probation order.

Wheeliker says the victims are also working with the shelter in safety planning and emergency response should the offender breach a no-go zone.

Not only does the GPS ankle bracelet act as a deterrent, Wheeliker has noticed that it also serves as a new tool for cutting down on police calls.

He says a past issue was that an offender would harass a victim by going near an area, like a home or workplace, which prompted numerous calls to the police.

“But by the time the police would get on scene the offender has left and while police can take a report and sometimes compile a file, it is very hard unless police get their eyes on the offender to charge him with a breach of probation,” Wheeliker said.

“From the shelter’s perspective this takes the onus off the victim.”

The GPS ankle bracelet independently reports on an offender’s whereabouts and could be used as evidence to convict them for breaching a no-contact order.

“We have had a couple of incidents where some (offenders) have gone into a no-go zone and the police response and ability to immediately pick up where this offender has been is remarkable,” Wheeliker said.

The shelter received $450,000 from the provincial government’s Safe Communities Innovation Fund for the GPS (Global Positioning System) Electronic Monitoring program. Following the project, the U of C will evaluate what impact the program had on offender compliance, if it assisted in victim safety and if the program is cost-effective in terms of managing domestic violence.

Wheeliker says the U of C’s engineering department is further developing a GPS prototype that will have more monitoring capabilities, such as detecting the offender’s altitude or whether his body is in motion or relaxed.

“We want to enhance the safety of victims,” Wheeliker said.

The current GPS ankle bracelet can also detect damages if an offender is undertaking efforts to remove it. To date no victims have been injured or harmed under the pilot program.

jjones@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Erika Fetterly, owner of EFP Studios, recently launched the Let Them Have A Voice campaign. (Contributed photo)
Central Alberta photographer’s campaign aims to give youths a voice

An Innisfail photographer is giving a platform to young central Albertans so… Continue reading

Chopped Canada-winning chef Pete Sok is trying to focus on the future as he reopens Boulevard Restaurant and Lounge in the Holiday Inn on Gasoline Alley during the pandemic. (Contributed photo)
Red Deer’s celebrity chef looks past the pandemic with new restaurant opportunity

Pete Sok is reopening Boulevard Restaurant — and betting on the future

The Red Deer Rebels hosted the Medicine Hat Tigers in the first game of the shortened 2020-21 season on Friday. The two teams faced off again in Medicine Hat Saturday (Photo by Rob Wallator/ Red Deer Rebels)
Red Deer Rebels fall to Medicine Hat Tigers on Saturday

Tigers 7 Rebels 2 The Red Deer Rebels have lost two straight… Continue reading

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer reports 25th COVID-19 death

415 new cases identified provincially Saturday

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped save a missing pet recently. The two dogs have more than 80,000 followers on Twitter. (Contributed photo)
WATCH: Red Deer science dogs help save lost pet

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped rescue a missing pet… Continue reading

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta Premier slams vandalism after slur painted on MLA’s office window

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is condemning alleged vandalism at the… Continue reading

Canada Pension Plan Investment Board President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Machin waits to appear at the Standing Committee on Finance on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa on Tuesday, November 1, 2016. Executives who engage in so-called "vaccine tourism" show both an ethical disregard for those less fortunate and a surprising lack of business acumen, experts argue. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine tourism is both unethical and bad for business, experts say

Executives who engage in so-called “vaccine tourism” show both an ethical disregard… Continue reading

Edmonton Oilers' Jesse Puljujarvi (13) and Toronto Maple Leafs' Justin Holl (3) battle in front as goalie Jack Campbell (36) makes the save during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, February 27, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
No Matthews, no problem: Minus NHL goal leader, Maple Leafs blank Oilers 4-0

Leafs 4 Oilers 0 EDMONTON — The Maple Leafs knew even with… Continue reading

Leader of the Government in the House of Commons Pablo Rodriguez rises during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Gummed-up bills in House of Commons: harbinger of a federal election?

OTTAWA — All federal party leaders maintain they don’t want an election… Continue reading

The Pornhub website is shown on a computer screen in Toronto on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Pornhub policies reveal legal gaps and lack of enforcement around exploitive videos

OTTAWA — Serena Fleites was in seventh grade when a sexually explicit… Continue reading

Sean Hoskin stands on a neighbourhood street in Halifax on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. Hoskin was diagnosed with COVID-19 almost a year ago with symptoms that still persist. Some provinces have established programs to deal with long-term sufferers but Atlantic Canada, with relatively low numbers of patients, has yet to provide a resource to assist them. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
On East Coast, exhausted COVID-19 ‘long haulers’ hope specialized clinics will emerge

HALIFAX — On evenings when Sean Hoskin collapses into bed, heart pounding… Continue reading

Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray (30) stands in his crease as Calgary Flames left wing Andrew Mangiapane (88), left to right, defenceman Rasmus Andersson (4), Matthew Tkachuk (19), Mikael Backlund (11) and Mark Giordano (5) celebrate a goal during second period NHL action in Ottawa on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Calgary Flames beat Ottawa 6-3 to end Senators’ three-game win streak

Flames 6 Senators 3 OTTAWA — The Calgary Flames used a balanced… Continue reading

Crosses are displayed in memory of the elderly who died from COVID-19 at the Camilla Care Community facility during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on November 19, 2020. The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection is likely to be much higher than recorded because of death certificates don't always list the virus as the cause of a fatality, experts say. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Death certificates don’t accurately reflect the toll of the pandemic, experts say

The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection… Continue reading

Most Read