Minnesota: Stalkers Tracked by GPS in Pilot Program
Thursday, November 1, 2012 4:45 PM

A new use of technology will soon provide added protection to victims of domestic violence and stalking in Minnesota. In a pilot program in Ramsey County, some defendants who are subject to a protective order will wear a monitoring device that will send an advance alert to the victim if the defendant comes within a movable five-mile zone. It will also notify police who will go to the scene if it is determined that the victim is at risk. Victims will carry a receiver similar to a computer mouse and defendants, who may be required to comply as a condition of bail, will wear an ankle bracelet.  While use of GPS technology is widely used to monitor sex offenders, gang members and other high risk criminals, this new system can now correlate a victim’s location with that of the defendant.
Steve Logan, CEO of Satellite Tracking of People, the firm that owns and manufactures the system, stressed that it “does not prevent someone from doing something bad,” but that the advance notice gives an opportunity to intervene. He added that studies show “a ‘surveillance effect’ in which those monitored are less likely to re-offend.” Mary Pat Maher, executive director of Project Remand, the organization that supervises domestic violence defendants who are awaiting trial, said “We think it’s going to put some teeth in protection orders, and it’s going to give us another tool to supervise and to monitor these defendants.”
Compiled from: Powell, Joy, Ramsey County project sill use GPS on Stalkers, Star Tribune (November 1, 2012).