Tracking Ankle Monitors In Tulsa County

Thursday, February 19th 2009, 9:32 pm
By: News On 6

By Lori Fullbright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Some suspects who are waiting to be sentenced are allowed to go home to their families, but they have to wear an ankle monitoring device.  The News On 6's crime reporter Lori Fullbright added one to her wardrobe to illustrate how it tracks a person's movements.

The bracelet must be worn at all times, even in the shower.  There's also a tracking device that must be kept nearby.   Some hook it to their belts.

02/18/2009  Related Story: Are Ankle Monitoring Bracelets Working?

Some agencies use a passive system which means the information is downloaded each night and someone looks at it the next day, but Tulsa County's system is active.

"Active, you can track them every minute of every day at any given time. You can get a point on somebody in the last minute," said Court Services Director Sherri Carrier.

They can set up exclusion zones, like where witnesses or victims live and if the person on the bracelet even drives by that address, the office gets an immediate alert.

For Lori Fullbright, the KOTV studios were made an exclusion zone.

Fullbright was mapped for two hours.  She started at KOTV, went to lunch at 2nd and Elgin, returned to the studio, and then went to the courthouse.

The results:  at 11:55 a.m., there was an alert that Fullbright was at KOTV.

Satellite mapping shows not just the address, but the actual buildings she visited over the two hour period.

"It is added security, peace of mind for the public and taxpayer savings. Why house them for $50- $60 a day, when can house them for $10 and make sure they have a job, are paying their taxes, taking care of their kids and putting food on the table," said Court Services Director Sherri Carrier.

If anyone tampers with or tries to cut off the bracelet, law enforcement gets an alert and goes to that address immediately.  Cutting the bracelet off is a felony charge that comes with five years in prison.

Monitors are notified when a person is home for the night, when the tracking device is plugged into the charger or when someone goes to court.

One employee gets hundreds of text messages a day about the people they're tracking.