So, we found how many suspects wearing an ankle bracelet for GPS monitoring still go where they want to go.
Thursday, the I-Team got a look at where alerts come in at the Justice Center. The room where Cuyahoga County sheriff’s deputies keep track of convicts and suspects wearing ankle bracelets.
We investigated after the case of Torrez Smith — out on your streets wearing an ankle bracelet charged with murder, yet busted again with two guns in downtown Cleveland.
Weeks ago, wild gunfire killed a 3-year-old on Cleveland’s west side while two suspects wore ankle bracelets.
Sheriff’s Dept. Chief Deputy Aaron Reese told the I-Team he believes the GPS monitoring program works, but at the same time, bad guys try to beat the system.
“It is a tremendous challenge, but it is very effective,” Reese said.
Records show, at any moment, about 600 people in Cuyahoga County wear GPS monitors.
So far this year, 435 people have been arrested for not following restrictions. Ninety-three have cut off their monitors.
“We don’t have a say in who has a monitor and who doesn’t. We’re just kind of tasked with dealing with the people who have monitors on,” Reese added.
In the case of Smith, his arrest under monitoring came after a traffic stop with a Sheriff’s Dept. K-9. Then, deputies say, they found two guns.
Smith now heads to prison. He entered guilty pleas last week to several charges including involuntary manslaughter. He received a sentence of more than 10 years in prison.
Last year, Cuyahoga County deputies got almost 2 million alerts from GPS monitoring. Everything from suspects cutting off ankle bracelets to suspects going to an area off limits for them. Even low batteries set off alerts.
Deputies can respond sometimes with a simple phone call. Sometimes a manhunt.
In 2021, a murder suspect out on an ankle bracelet ended up charged with another murder.
The monitoring system has been designed to keep people from getting into more trouble, and many stay out of trouble, but deputies stay ready for that next alert.
“One of the Ohio Revised Code mandates that the sheriff must do is preserve the public peace,” Reese said.
We also found about half of the people who have cut off ankle bracelets this year are still on the run.