Ankle Monitor Program Grows with Technology

By Camaron Abundes  
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND CO.-The watchful eyes of Midland's court system are getting sharper every year thanks to the technology pushing the GPS ankle monitor program.

"It's funny how technology has increased supervision," Tim Long, Director of Midland County Pretrial Services, said.

Long says monitors have come a long way since Midland County rolled them out in 2000.

"We'll the old electronic monitoring devices connected to the phone lines," said Long who added they would then signal a pager or cell phone.

Long says today cell phone towers and satellites now make the monitors more reliable. A judge can order a defendant out of bond to pay $10 dollars to cover the monitor's cost.

"It's like a direct response now," Long said, "If they're in a zone they shouldn't be or if they have left the house without permission, we get different signals for different things."

Long says even in the last year there have been advancements.

"They're always updating and changing. Even the monitors, when we first started they didn't have the charging device, a little light to notify us if they are fully charged. They've added that in the last year," Long said.

Long says about 90 monitors are in rotation, a number up from last year.

"Basically, the new technology intensified the new electronic monitors in that now it's constant surveillance," Long said, "It allows the courts and everybody using them to know how good the technology is so therefore were using it more and more."

Long says the monitors make sure a defendant shows up in court and the maximum security keeps everyone safe.