GPS tracking bill heads to governor

Tuesday, April 29th 2008, 8:14 pm
By: News 9

By Amy Lester, NEWS 9

A new bill could give judges the ability to track convicted criminals using a GPS tracking device.

Sen. Debbe Leftwich pushed for the bill, and after passing through the House and Senate, it's on the way to the governor's desk.

"You know when a tornado hits town, you usually hear a siren go off. Well, this is a victim's siren. It gives that victim time to get to safety," Sen. Debbe Leftwich (D-District 44) said.

The bill would allow judges to force some people with Victim's Protective Orders issued against them, to wear GPS monitoring devices.

"If there is a history of violence, if he has any concern or she has any concern for the victim at all for their safety, they can order this," Leftwich said. "I think it's something that will be utilized."

Lisa Hammond, Oklahoma County Special Judge, said she supports this bill. The GPS tracking notifies the victim and police if the abuser is nearby, which violates the VPO.

"To be able to provide the tools to track the offenders, I think is a great step in the right direction," Hammond said. "We have cases where it's exactly the opposite, where the offender is the one who's tracking."

There's still a chance the offender could remove the device, and cause harm to the person.

Domestic violence advocates believe steps like this will protect victims.

"It won't stop the violence in all cases, but it will stop the violence in some cases," advocate Marcia Smith said.

If the bill is made into law, the judge can order the offenders to pay for the GPS tracking, which costs $4.50 a day.

If they don't pay, they're violating a court order, and the judge can take action against them.