GPS might not be any better than order of protection

GPS might not be any better than order of protection

SPRINGFIELD -- Law enforcement could soon track those who violate restraining orders just by hitting a switch.
SPRINGFIELD -- Law enforcement could soon track those who violate restraining orders just by hitting a switch. A proposal would allow officers to attach GPS devices to individuals who are a threat before seeing a judge. WCIA-3's Kelsey Gibbs finds out what it means for victims.

Lawmakers are pushing a proposal to add safety for victims of assault. Vicky Smith, with the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence says the bill could add some comfort.

"Monitoring a respondent with a GPS, is it appropriate? What are all the circumstance?"

The circumstances are that this would only apply to a person charged with a felony crime.

"I think it's going to be really complicated for the individual courts or pretrial services or prosecutor or whoever there be responsible for making that decision."

The legislation would let authorities monitor someone as soon as a protective order is issued, but Smith says the GPS could only do so much.

"It's not going to help everybody and we shouldn't set up a false sense of security for either people experiencing domestic violence or the systems that are trying to help the individual."

Sangamon County Undersheriff Jack Campbell agrees.

"An order of protection is a piece of paper that says you can't go within a certain distance. You can't do certain things, but it doesn't stop somebody that really wants to do damage. The ankle monitor will be the same thing."

Smith says if lawmakers want to help, they need to know the victims.

"The bottom line is that the individual who is being victimized has to be a part of the discussion with and decide all the tools that are helpful."

Nonetheless, Campbell and Smith say the GPS is a good start.

"What we're interested in is whatever keeps the public safe and if this is another one of the tools that we can use at the sheriff's office to take to keep people safe, then certainly we're in favor of it. The GPS, just like the order of protection, is one tool to try to help us reduce domestic violence."

Currently, state law only lets a judge order GPS monitoring after a suspect has violated an order of protection, not before. The bill provides the cost of the GPS device would be paid for from bail money from the defendant.
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