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September 20, 2004


Dangerous sex offenders to be tracked by satellite in order to keep children safe


Continuing his efforts to keep families and their children safe from the Commonwealth’s most dangerous sex offenders, Governor Mitt Romney today welcomed the use of a new tracking tool designed to keep a watchful eye on sex offenders who are on probation or parole.


“We are sending a clear message to the people of the Commonwealth: We are committed to protecting communities from dangerous sexual predators,” said Romney. “While these high-risk offenders are under state supervision, we will have the capability to closely monitor their every move.”


The new $1 million initiative signed into law by Romney as part of the Fiscal Year 2004 supplemental budget last Friday requires all Level Three sex offenders to wear an ankle bracelet equipped with Global Positioning System (GPS) technology for the duration of his probation or parole.


The new GPS technology, which is used by police agencies in more than 30 states, will allow law enforcement officials to identify a sexual predator’s whereabouts within a 15-foot radius and has the capability to record his or her movements over time. If a crime is committed at a certain time or place, authorities will be able to determine whether a particular Level 3 offender out on parole or probation was at the scene.


“We made a commitment to families across the Commonwealth that cracking down on the state’s worst sex offenders would be a top priority of our administration,” said Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey. “Today, we are giving our law enforcement officials additional tools to protect communities and keep our neighbors safe from the dangers of repeat sex offenders.”


Through the Probation Department, law enforcement officials can create maps with “zones of exclusion,” such as playgrounds, schools or a specific address, to alert authorities if a sex offender has entered a restricted zone.


“The Global Positioning System provides an extra layer of supervision for probationers and parolees who live in your community,” said John J. O’Brien, Commissioner of Probation. “We will now know where they live, where they work and locations that they frequent 24 hours per day, seven days per week.”


The estimated cost of the program is $10 per person, per day. As of September 2004, there were 219 registered Level 3 offenders currently on probation or parole. Probation officials estimate the program will be up and running by early next year.



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