Albany, NY – The Schenectady County Legislature has voted to use GPS to monitor domestic offenders while state lawmakers continue to hammer out an agreement on GPS bill that would require any person with an order of protection issued against them to wear the tracking device. Capital District Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.
Domestic violence is a problem that happens behind closed doors, so it can be difficult to prevent and to police it when it does occur. National Statistics show that one in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime --- Schenectady County Chairwoman Susan Savage sponsored the resolution that passed last Tuesday night, which provides up to $40,000 to purchase 12 GPS tracking bracelets for domestic abuse offenders. Courts currently have the authority to make electronic monitoring a condition of probation, but Schenectady County never had the technology available. Judges will decide whether or not GPS should be used on a case by case basis, while the county probation department will assist local law enforcement agencies to monitor and respond to GPS alerts.
State lawmakers are working on "Erika's Bill" that would protect domestic violence victims through the use of GPS: Brooklyn Democratic Assemblyman Felix Ortiz is lead sponsor, with Senator Andrew Lanza sponsoring the Senate version of the bill. Ortiz says the bill is in the codes committee right now. This is the third year Ortiz is sponsoring the bill, which has come up against the same stumbling block in committee time after time, but Ortiz believes an agreement is close.
The cost of Intimate Partner Violence is close to 6 Billion dollars a year: Ortiz points out that the GPS law will help New York State save money. National Institutes of Justice statistics show that of those who are stalked by a current or former intimate partner, eighty-one percent are physically assaulted and thirty-one percent are sexually assaulted by that partner.