Ector County Officials have new tool for offenders on house arrest

by Mitzi Loera
NewsWest 9

Ector County juvenile probation officers have a new partner when it comes to keeping tabs on juvenile offenders who are on house arrest.

"It's a very good system for us to use. We used it on a lot of kids that we have problems controlling that won't report, that go out after curfew, that tend to run away, that go by their victims house," said Tami Berger, Juvenile Probation Officer.

The new ankle monitors made by "Tracker Pal" are linked to a global positioning satellite and can track the offender anywhere.

"Its got a chip inside where the satellite will ping it's like a cell phone, it will hit that chip, and it can give the location exactly where the kids at," Berger said.

So after the juvenile offender is measured. The monitor is turned on. The tracking begins.

"We have the ability to talk to the offender over the leg monitor, they come with a speaker, we can call into the call center and speak to the offender over the monitor," Berger said.

The monitor tattles on the offender when they do something they aren't supposed to be.

Alerting the call center in Utah, someone at the call center then calls the probation officer.

"If they will not respond over the device, then I can myself go, and contact the offender at the last address they have, and pick the offender up for violating his probation, or send local law enforcement to pick them up as well," Berger said.

Probation officers also have the ability to track offender's whereabouts on the computer.

"The number one flag is where they are currently, and the other flags show their path," Berger said.

The old ankle monitors worked off the telephone line, and Berger says if the phone quit working there was now way to track the juvenile with these new monitors they can track at all times.