Sheriff's Office decides to end electronic monitoring program

The Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office will end its electronic monitoring program at the start of the new year.

The Sheriff's Office announced its decision to end the program during yesterday's City Council meeting. The decision comes just one month after the council grilled Sheriff Marlin Gusman and his staff over the handling of a curfew violation involving a juvenile with an ankle monitor. The juvenile is accused in a beating and separate armed robbery and murder that occurred while he was wearing the device.

Chief Deputy Jerry Ursin said at the time that the Sheriff's Office was aware of the curfew violation, but had to get an order from a judge before picking up the juvenile. Before that could happen, the juvenile had allegedly committed the second crime.

On Thursday, however, Ursin told the council that the sheriff's decision to stop the program was unrelated.

“Well, I think it's a couple of reasons that the Sheriff thought about," Ursin said. "We just got paid Monday for the first six months of the year, so that means we floated the cost of it. I also think we can utilize the person assigned to electric monitoring for the opening of a new facility.”

“He needs to reconsider that because this is a public safety tool and it's critical to public safety going forward. The sheriff gets a lot of blame anytime something goes wrong with electronic monitoring. The reality is every component of the criminal justice system plays some role in electronic monitoring,” said Rafael Goyeneche.with the Metropolitan Crime Commission.

He said it's time for all of the departments to make it work, and he thinks the Sheriff's Office needs to continue overseeing the program.

Deputy Mayor of Public Safety Jerry Sneed released a statement saying: "We are evaluating our options to procure the services for 2015."

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