Live 5 News gets inside look at new satellite monitoring system for accused criminals

Published: Jun. 25, 2014 at 8:24 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 25, 2014 at 10:00 PM EDT
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Red zones on tracking maps will indicate areas the offender is not allowed to visit as a term...
Red zones on tracking maps will indicate areas the offender is not allowed to visit as a term of their release. (Photo Source: Live 5 News)

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Beginning Tuesday, the Charleston County Sheriff's Office will take over the responsibility of tracking accused criminals on GPS monitors.

The job used to belong to bail bondsmen, but authorities say several people under house arrest, some even facing murder charges, broke their GPS monitors and managed to get away.

The new tracking system will be housed inside the Charleston County Jail.

"This is gonna make things a lot safer, a lot more trackable," Field Training Instructor Robert Harvey, Jr., said.

The ankle monitor sends back a signal that shows the movements of the accused offender and plots them on an on-screen map with color-coded zones. A green zone indicates where the offender is allowed to be, for example his home or job. There's also a zone that is off limits, for example where a victim may live.

"He's two blocks away from the victim's house. It's gonna send me a notification. I can call a deputy and the deputy will be at the house probably at the same time he's trying to arrive," Harvey said.

An alarm also will be sent if the person wearing the monitor tries to tamper with it or cut it off.

Judges say the new system will assure that somebody is watching anyone out on bond who is on a monitor.

"It doesn't throw 50,000 volts into them if they sit over here and violate it. What it does is it's a big eye in the sky that watches their moves and we have a lot more control over this system right now than we've had in the past," Charleston County Preliminary Hearing Court Judge James Gosnell said.

Taxpayers will not have to foot the bill for the GPS monitors.

The people wearing the monitors will have to pay about $275 a month for them.

Initially, the new tracking system will be used only in Charleston County.

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