GPS Services " E.M.P.A.C.T.
Through our ongoing partnership with the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office, the utilization of GPS/GIS Electronic Monitoring Technology has provided a viable cost-effective and safe alternative to incarceration of defendants awaiting disposition of their criminal charges, as well as offenders assigned to probation who also have electronic monitoring court-ordered as a condition of probation.
In December 2008, the Electronic Monitoring Protection and Crime Tracking program (EMPACT) incorporated a new domestic violence initiative called EMPACT-DV (domestic violence), which offers victims of domestic violence an extra protective layer against ongoing incidents of domestic violence. EMPACT provides real-time, 24/7 monitoring of offenders’ whereabouts via GPS mapping. Offenders assigned to EMPACT-DV are subject to immediate arrest by law enforcement if they commit a serious violation, such as an exclusion zone violation or equipment tampering.
EMPACT has been an effective deterrent against ongoing incidents of domestic violence, with no new incidents being reported among monitored defendants and offenders since the program’s inception. The number of offenders under supervision at any time currently averages about 80 monthly. Since they are not on the program for set time frames (they are released from monitoring upon closure of their cases), the number of offenders may shrink or swell daily.
In 2009, to date, EMPACT offenders are averaging 143 days on the program, while EMPACT-DV offenders average 47 days on the program. Utilization of electronic monitoring as a condition of bond has freed more than 8,600 man/days, at a cost of $80/day, in the county jail last year. This resulted in more than $948,000 in jail cost avoidance. With incarceration fees of over $80/person/day in Seminole County, along with limited housing space within the jail, the EMPACT Program provides a release mechanism which holds clients accountable to the courts through community supervision methods, while reducing costs involved with supervision of these clients. Additionally, offender tracking data provided by GPS monitors, for those defendants so equipped, may be used to help solve new or pending crimes.
The EMPACT and EMPACT-DV programs have grown very rapidly, with an increase of more than 250% in the number of supervised offenders within the last year. We anticipate that the E.M.P.A.C.T. programs will continue to grow, as new public safety initiatives such as suppression of violent and criminal gang activities are looking at E.M.P.A.C.T. as an effective tool to reduce incidents of gang-related activity and encourage positive behavioral change. EMPACT has enabled the Probation Division to advance past traditional reactive offender supervision into the realm of proactive offender supervision.