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Michael A. Ellison - (845) 486-2103
Dutchess County Legislature Chairman Rob Rolison joined New York State Senator Steve Saland, Dutchess County District Attorney Bill Grady, Dutchess County Undersheriff Kirk Imperati, and members of the Dutchess County Legislature Citizens’ Advisory Committee on Domestic Violence today to unveil a pilot program to test GPS technology designed to deter violent, repeat domestic violence batterers from committing further acts of violence against their victims.
“Following a tragic murder in Hyde Park I requested our Citizens’ Advisory Committee on Domestic Violence to conduct a system-wide review and make recommendations on how best to improve and enhance our domestic violence services. The report the Committee produced is a testament to the outstanding services already offered to Dutchess County domestic violence victims but also made several important recommendations. Chief among those recommendations was the need to utilize GPS technology in high risk cases. Today, with the help of Senator Saland, we are proud to take a huge step forward to make this recommendation a reality here in Dutchess County,” said Rolison.
“This has been a collaborative effort to seek a resolution to the growing number of domestic violence incidents in Dutchess County. Despite severe funding constraints at the state and county level, we have succeeded in moving forward with a pilot project that may prove to be a potentially life-saving and cost-effective means to better protect domestic violence victims,” said Saland. “After several weeks of discussion, Elmo-Tech has agreed to provide the County with 10 GPS units to monitor high-risk offenders. The availability of this GPS technology is both encouraging and exciting. I thank both Rob Rolison and Marjorie Smith for the background on Elmo-Tech and the entire Domestic Violence Committee which prompted my interest in exploring the potential benefits of the GPS tracking devices.”
“Senator Saland must be commended for making this important program a reality here in Dutchess County. The ability of the criminal justice system to use GPS technology represents a significant step forward in our ability to protect the victim and control offender conduct during the predisposition state of a case which is one of the most dangerous times for a domestic violence victim,” said Grady.
The Citizens’ Advisory Committee on Domestic Violence’s System-Wide Review and Recommendations “strongly urge[d] the Legislature to direct implementation of a Global Position Satellite (GPS) monitoring and alerting system for high-risk domestic violence offenders.” Since the report was released in October of 2010 Chairman Rolison has worked with the Committee, in particular Chairwoman and Universal Domestic Violence Response Coordinator Leah Feldman as well as Assistant District Attorney and Special Victims Bureau Chief Marjorie Smith, to research and address any possible faults in a County-wide GPS system before implementation.
“In the 2010 report to the Legislature, the Citizen’s Advisory Committee on Domestic Violence recommended that the Legislature undertake such steps as are necessary to implement GPS monitoring for appropriate domestic violence offenders. In 2011 the Committee, as directed by the Legislature, has compiled significant research as to advise the Legislature how to safely and effectively implement this system in Dutchess County. This pilot project is a significant step in further assessing the effectiveness of this technology and working towards increased safety for victims,” said Feldman.
To test the equipment before full implementation Elmo-Tech, a global provider of leading presence and location verification technologies designed for monitoring individuals in the law enforcement, corrections, and security markets, has graciously committed 10 GPS units to Dutchess County at no cost to taxpayers. The GPS units will be utilized as appropriate by law enforcement officials and other members of the domestic violence response community to test the system prior to determining its viability for Dutchess County.
Elmo-Tech’s technology is intended to provide better supervision of aggressors' along with greater monitoring of their compliance with court orders. Increased monitoring of offenders and safety measures for victims is achieved through the creation of safety zones for the victim and parallel notification layers around the aggressor. Enforcement agencies are provided early alerts to potentially violent encounters between the victim and the aggressor. The technology includes devices that are carried by both the offender and the victim. Both devices communicate with GPS satellite. The offender tracking unit provides real time tracking of aggressor's whereabouts, warnings to aggressors as they enter an off limits zone, and prompt alerts of the aggressor's approach to the security perimeters around the victim which are delivered simultaneously to both the victim and designated enforcement agencies. The technology also includes a victim tracking unit which doubles as an emergency phone to enforcement agencies and a means of monitoring the offenders distance from the victim as she or he moves about everyday life. This project was successfully piloted in Madrid Spain and a similar program was later introduced in the Balearic Islands. With close collaboration between law enforcement and victim service agencies, we hope for this project to achieve similar success and momentum in New York State.
Along with the 10 tracking units, Elmo-Tech has also agreed to monitor the units at their national office. The company will work with our local Committee to create an effective system specific to our County and to each offender. In the following weeks representatives from involved agencies will be meeting to structure a protocol that will be effective in increasing safety for victims and accountability for offenders in Dutchess County.
“I want to commend all those involved in making this pilot program a reality. Everyone here today has a passion and dedication to stop domestic violence by whatever means necessary. We are grateful to Senator Saland who has been a tremendous ally in our endeavors as well as District Attorney Grady and Sheriff Anderson. Further, we should recognize the hard work that the Dutchess County Legislature’s Citizens’ Advisory Committee on Domestic Violence has done to issue a comprehensive report and their continuous efforts to use that report as a blueprint to improve the domestic violence services offered in Dutchess County. I look forward to pushing forward on the reforms the Committee offered including utilization of a lethality assessment prior to a judge setting bail and improving the availability of local judges for the purpose of arraignments,” said Rolison.
“A GPS monitoring and alerting system is one reform we must and will pursue, but all the reforms we can think of alone will not end domestic violence. It takes community cooperation, it takes education, it takes resolve, and it takes meticulous action to give victims the tools they need to be free from their batterers,” concluded Rolison.
The Dutchess County Citizens’ Advisory Committee on Domestic Violence report is available on the Dutchess County Legislature’s website as is video of Chairman Rolison’s Domestic Violence roundtable forum he hosted in February to discuss this report and its recommendations including GPS monitoring and altering.