Does Orleans' electronic monitoring work? - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Does Orleans' electronic monitoring work?

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New Orleans, La. -  Police say a 14-year-old boy wearing an ankle monitoring bracelet helped two other teens rob a woman at gunpoint on 1st Street late Tuesday night.  The teen should have been home at the time.

Police say, minutes later, the teens committed a second Uptown robbery. This time investigators say the suspects carjacked a woman on Marengo.

"My son was sitting here on the steps and as he tried to approach the car, the guy held the gun and was aiming at me as if he was about to shoot and he asked, don't shoot, don't shoot my mom and he stopped," says the victim.

Police are still looking for the teen they think was the gunman.

Now the City Council Criminal Justice Committee wants an investigation into the system designed to track offenders. 

The council budgeted $800,000 last year for the ankle monitoring program.  Council President Stacy Head says she's not sure it was money well spent.

"It's a fabulous concept," Head says. "The electronic equipment seems to be as good as you can possibly get. I think we have seen through several examples that we've been gathering over the last six or so months that there have been some catastrophic failures."

Head says some judges aren't putting restrictions on the monitors, allowing teens to go anywhere at any time of the day or night.  She also questions the people monitoring the system at the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office.

"If there's ever a failure with their monitoring, that's obviously a problem with their monitoring," says Head. "Certainly we've run into situations where I guess I question whether the monitoring was done as it should have been."

Sheriff Marlin Gusman admitted there was a problem with the system Tuesday night, saying the ankle bracelets stopped communicating with the central monitoring office.   Sheriff's deputies were looking at old data.

Head says, if the council's investigation can't find ways to correct the program, she would consider cutting the funding.

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