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Department of Corrections Sets Up GPS Programs at State Fairs to Catch Sex Offenders

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(Sacramento, CA)
Thursday, July 15, 2010
As part of a sex offender’s parole agreement, there are certain places they can’t go. Places like the state fair, where there are lots of families with children.

To make sure that rule isn’t broken, seven-thousand California sex offenders have to wear gps ankle bracelets at all times. So for the next few months, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation parole officers are setting up laptops in their cars and monitoring more than a dozen events statewide.
“This is a screen and what it’s going to display is where this individual’s at.”

Parole Agent Lou Anne Fischer set up her computer at the state fair on opening day. Her screen shows a map with a little red arrow pointing to a sex offenders location, and where he’s headed. The idea is to get to them as quickly as possible.
“He’s going approximately 21 mph and that was his last position at 3:30 today.”

That particular offender was traveling in a car, passing by the fairgrounds. State parole administrator Marvin Speed says false alarms like that aren’t uncommon.
“You’re going to get some drifts, you’re going to get some false positives if you will, but that’s part of the process and you do have to track those down. We don’t want to ignore any alert or alarm because it may be real.”

Speed says once an offender enters the grounds, it can take up to 20 minutes to find them.
“If there’s a large crowd, sometimes it’s hard to find the individual but we know they’re still in the zone, we know they’re on fairgrounds, we know approximately where they are.”

Last year, 35 offenders were caught state wide. At the state fair alone, there were 30 notifications, and five arrests. In Sacramento, I’m Ida Lieszkovszky.
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