GREENSBORO, N.C. -- The Greensboro Police Department wants to put more repeat criminal offenders under supervision through its Priority Offender List.
The department is requesting a $55,000 funding boost in the 2015 budget to allow GPD’s Electronic Monitoring Unit to expand the program and take on 50 additional offenders.
Greensboro police say the program is intended for people who can’t stay out of trouble; offenders who get out of jail on pretrial release and commit more crimes.
Eligible repeat offenders are given an electronic ankle monitor, allowing the Electronic Monitoring Unit to track the person’s whereabouts between court dates.
"If we've arrested someone who's been burglarizing your neighborhood, terrorizing your neighborhood...we now have a way of monitoring that the person is not there up until the court date,” said Greensboro Deputy Chief of Police Anita Holder. “We also have a way of monitoring them wherever they are in the city of Greensboro, should they decide to change neighborhoods."
GPD says there’s currently about 100 people on the Priority Offender List on any given day and expanding the program could help officers get to habitual offenders who have slipped through the cracks.
If the funding boost is approved, the program would swell to 150 with additional money used to lease the ankle bracelets.
Few offenders on the list commit crimes while under supervision, according to police, who call it a strong deterrent.
Greensboro Police Sergeant M. Rakes, who runs the Electronic Monitoring Unit, says the program pays for itself in the long run.
“If we have to investigate a burglary or robbery it's going to cost money just to have the officers do the follow up, the crime scene processing,” said Sergeant Rakes. “The arrest if they get a warrant; the going to court. Just that money alone pretty much would pay for the monitor.”
Sgt. Rakes says it also saves money spent on keeping the inmate in jail and allows fewer officers to keep an eye on more offenders.
People on the Priority Offender List are connected to free help and services. Rakes says he’s seen people turn their lives around as a result.
The proposed expansion is just a portion of $320,000 in proposed enhancements for Greensboro’s police department, which include body armor replacement and funding for the fair and impartial police training program.
The additional funds will become available July 1st 2014 if approved in next year’s budget.