Tagging technology upgrade planned

| 14/07/2015 | 7 Comments
Cayman News Service

Julian Lewis, Assistant Director for Electronic Monitoring at the Department of Public Safety Communications

(CNS): The assistant director for electronic monitoring at the Department of Public Safety Communications, Julian Lewis, who was certified as a professional communications centre manager just last month, has said that the centre is looking to upgrade its tagging technology. Recent headlines about individuals bailed on electronic tags committing crime by attempting to ‘foil’ the system — literally — has led the department to seek an upgrade.

But Lewis, who has 24 clients wearing electronic tags who are on police or court bail, said that the system is not that easy to fool. While there have been some cases where aluminium foil has interrupted and disrupted the signal, his department is getting quicker at picking up irregularities and alerting the police, he said.

The electronic monitoring devices that bailed clients wear use a cellular network to transmit their location via a Global Positioning System. Lewis explained that if foil is wrapped over the device, the GPS signal can be blocked but he said the cellular radio functions of the device are much stronger than GPS and in most cases cannot be defeated. But even when it is, a feature within the EM device which distinguishes movement still transmits an alert that the device is moving.

In those circumstances, if the centre is not receiving the GPS signal because of foil or because the wearer is in a metal building, staff can quickly spot the problem and call the client by phone to have them perform steps to become compliant, or they can send the police to the last known location.

“The Electronic Monitoring Centre staff has become very proficient at identifying these types of tamper alerts, which we have found to be associated to clients with significant non-compliant behaviour,” Lewis said. “As a result of this capability the EM staff very quickly informs the RCIPS of a noncompliant client and provides the necessary information for them to enforce the conditions of the client’s bail.”

Lewis explained that the monitoring system requires a certain level of cooperation and there is significant motivation for clients to comply because jail is the usual alternative.

“The alternative to EM is the remand of these individuals into custody,” he said. “As we have recently seen, the courts are now taking significant action against clients, once the investigation reveals that a client has attempted to defeat the program by tampering with the device and or breached the condition of the Electronic Monitoring Agreement with Judicial Administration.”

Lewis said that department believes that the current EMD devices work well but a request for proposals has been circulated for bids from security providers to provide advanced technology to include metal detection of a device wrapped in foil or other metals, which may make tampering even less effective.

The communications safety boss recently attended a week-long conference in Colorado, where he received his professional certification. This means all three members of the DPSC management team now have professional certifications in the emergency communications field.

Ministry of Home Affairs Chief Officer Eric Bush said he was proud of the ambition that Lewis had to get his certification.

“This is another visible act that demonstrates the professionalism that exists within the Department of Public Safety Communications,” he said.

The programme undertaken by Lewis is designed to equip PSAP and 911 managers and supervisors with the tools needed to effectively manage their agency through a rigorous 40-hour course of lecture and lab-based education.

Lewis has been with the Department of Public Safety Communications for four years. Prior to that he was a sergeant with the RCIPS technical services division. As well as the electronic monitoring of offenders, he is responsible for the national CCTV programme.

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Category: Crime

Comments (7)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    kinda like fishing. Tag and Catch, Tag & Release

  2. Anonymous says:

    Well I have had personal experience with an electronic tag wearer. Since she didn’t have a phone they couldn’t call her. She would stay out beyond curfew, or come home and go out again. Or not charge her tag. Whether the device is efficient is irrelevant as the human monitors are not.

    • anon says:

      Courts shouldn’t approve someone for electronic monitoring if they don’t have their own phone. After all, it’s not like the monitoring officers are the ones deciding who gets put on the program to begin with.

      It is up to the person being monitored to comply. And it is up to the officials (court, police, prison service, probation service) who put the person on the monitoring program to begin with to enforce conditions,

      Being on electronic monitoring is a privilege as compared to being in jail. Apparently the people assigned to monitoring don’t believe so.

  3. caroline says:

    well said and done my darling son, i know i didnt raise a fool. keep up the good works.
    i am so proud of you.
    Aunt Caroline.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Responsible for CCTV and Electronic monitoring…Wow!

    Two flagship programs indeed!!!

  5. anon says:

    Seems the courts, police and probation all need to evaluate any “clients with significant non-compliant behaviour” and remove them from the program. Let them serve their time in Northward and let other non-violent offenders who will comply be out on Electronic Monitoring.

    Electronic Monitoring can be a cost savings over keeping someone locked up. But the savings evaporates if we are consuming a lot of police and court resources chasing non-compliant clients.

  6. Anonymous says:

    a one week course. I think I will do it and apply for the director job.

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