D. A. to make changes to electronic monitoring - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

D. A. to make changes to electronic monitoring

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District Attorney Greg Edwards District Attorney Greg Edwards

By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  Dougherty County's District Attorney says he's making changes to the county's Electronic Monitoring system.

Greg Edwards reviewed the system after an armed robbery suspect on electronic monitoring was arrested for shooting a hardware store owner. Investigators say Jordan Harris was wearing his ankle monitor when he committed that crime.

For District Attorney Greg Edwards public safety is his top priority, that's why after an investigation of Dougherty County's electronic monitoring system he's making changes.

"We're going to minimize the opportunity for anyone to violate the constraints of house arrest," said Edwards.

He's working to change several things, the first of which is arming Tracker Pal's alarms if the defendant violates the terms of his supervised release.

"That option has been there but what we're saying is we're going to make it happen, we want it to happen," said Edwards.

Dougherty County already fills out extensive paperwork with specifics about the conditions of the release.

"It spells out all the particular guidelines that the judge has issued for the inmate to be released," said Sgt. Rick Windham, of the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office.

In addition to the monitoring company, Sergeant Rick Windham is watching.

"They gave me the ability to be able to track an inmate in real time," said Windham.

The grand jury also weighed in on the issue today agreeing with Edwards there needs to be more communication between the private contractors providing these services.

"We want to look at means of having a link of communication between the separate monitoring services, like I've said they're private corporations so that's one of the things we can work toward," said Edwards.

If the terms are violated, Edwards says he wants those defendants detained at once. He's confident it can work and provide taxpayers a savings and peace of mind.

"We want it to work and it's a cost saving thing and I wouldn't advocate it if it's not going to be able to keep us safe," said Edwards.

A night in Dougherty County's jail cost the county nearly 50 dollar per inmate, electronic monitoring cost just 12 dollars and in Dougherty County is typically paid by the defendant. So electronic monitoring can save taxpayers about a million dollars a year.

Wednesday the jail had 879 inmates, that's near capacity. District Attorney Greg Edwards says he plans to implement the changes immediately.

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