New GPS program tracks domestic violence suspects
Program introduced in Orange, Osceola counties
Judge Belvin Perry will introduce a plan aimed at protecting victims of violence with GPS bracelets, making Orange and Osceola counties the first in the state to use the program.
Under the new plan, if someone is granted a domestic violence injunction, the defendant could be forced to wear a GPS tracking device and the victim would carry a responder about the size of an iPhone that would alert the victim if the defendant is within a certain distance.
"They don't have to be surprised by this person storming into their place of work or driving their car through their front window," said Carol Wick of Harbor House, a domestic violence shelter. "It's an early warning system, I mean essentially that's what it is."
Wick tells Local 6 the program is needed. In January, Orange County hit a record of 450 people filling out domestic violence injunctions.
"Unfortunately in Orange County 92 percent of people arrested for domestic violence have charges dropped," said Wick.
Critics said the system could be a violation of civil rights since a defendant has only been accused and not convicted. Wick said it could save lives.
"It's really about protecting someone when everything else society has set up has failed," she said.
There are at least 16 cases on the docket to be considered. Once an injunction is granted, there will be another hearing to determine if the case meets the criteria for needing a bracelet.