Newspaper: Counties not using GPS monitoring

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by Web Update Producer

WHAS11.com

Posted on July 26, 2010 at 3:48 PM

   INDEPENDENCE, Ky. (AP) -- A new Kentucky statute allowing counties to use GPS tracking devices in domestic violence cases has been in effect for two weeks, but a published report says the key provision isn't being used.
   The Kentucky Enquirer reports county officials say the law is an unfunded mandate and they can't afford to place a tracking device on people charged with domestic violence.
   Democratic political consultant Dale Emmons, who lobbied for the law, says the argument is bogus.
   The much-discussed measure was enacted after state employee Amanda Ross was fatally shot in September outside her home in Lexington. Former state legislator Steve Nunn is charged with murder in her death.
   The newspaper reported Kentucky's Administrative Office of the Courts could not find any county that has implemented GPS monitoring.
   "For someone to use money as an excuse not to use Amanda's Law is absolutely not being truthful to the people they are talking to," said Emmons, also a spokesman for Ross's family.
   Emmons said ordering a defendant to wear a GPS tracking device would cost taxpayers between $4-$7 per day, while ordering someone to the Kenton County jail would cost about $31 each day.
   House Speaker Greg Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, who introduced the legislation, said it's not an unfunded mandate since the legislation was rewritten to make GPS tracking optional for counties.
   "Amanda's Law is a tool designed to do two things: Increase the safety of domestic violence victims and save counties money on jail costs," he said. "By using electronic monitoring devices in such cases, counties will reap great savings."
   Denny Nunnelley, the executive director of Kentucky Association of Counties, says the law is vague about who will pay for GPS tracking devices and that's one reason it's not being adopted quickly.
   Boone County Judge-Executive Gary Moore he supports the intent of Amanda's law, but there's no money to fund GPS trackers.
   "Like so many things that are happening now, this is an unfunded item from the state government," he said.
   Moore said he plans to meet with judges and county administrators to get ideas on funding.
   "It is very early in the process," he said, "and we are still sorting through all the issues."
   Linda Bramlage, family court judge for Boone and Gallatin counties, said one option is for counties to work together to operate a regional GPS tracking system.
   "In all honesty, the person who violates the (protective order) is supposed to pay for it, but the county has to get it started somehow," Bramlage said. "They have to find some funds for that."
   ------
   Information from: The Kentucky Enquirer, http://www.nky.com
   (Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

 

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