WEST ASHLEY, S.C (WCBD) – A pilot program at the Charleston Police Department is allowing officers to keep a close watch on violent offenders out on bond.
Through the program, two officers are tasked with monitoring the offenders through an electronic ankle device. According to police, the device is granted by a judge and is typically reserved for people who police deem as a threat to the public.
It’s up to the officers to make sure the offender is following court orders.
“They deal with these guys every day. Phone calls constantly, text messages about, you know, ‘hey I need to go here, I need to go there.’ A lot of times the officer is like ‘no its not part of your court order,’” said Lt. Heath King, the Team Four Commander for the Charleston Police Department.
Lt. King started this pilot program in September. He told News 2 there are currently 15 offenders being watched through the program and two have been caught violating.
“In both instances where we’ve had people violate, the judges have granted a bench warrant and we have been able to pick them up and put them back in jail,” said Lt. King.
Outside of this program, leaders explained a third-party bonding company is usually in charge of monitoring the device.
“In most instances the monitoring company is getting paid. And it’s pretty substantial. They’re getting paid up to $20 a day, maybe even more. And so that adds up and it’s a disincentive to have someone off the monitor,” said Scarlett Wilson, the Solicitor for the Ninth Judicial Circuit.
The program even goes beyond preventing violations. According to police, the offenders are offered job opportunities if the court allows.
“While it is holding people accountable and you know, preserving public safety, it’s maybe trying to get some people to turn a corner too,” Lt. King said.
King said they will review the results of the program after about a year.