Memphis Plans Advanced Electronic Tracking For Juvenile Defendants


Memphis police want to stop gun-toting teens in their tracks, says the Memphis Commercial Appeal. Police Director Larry Godwin is teaming with Mayor A. C. Wharton to develop a pilot program that monitors the steps of troubled teens through advanced electronic tracking bracelets. It’s part of a $2 million, federally funded program to curtail crime using equipment that can pinpoint a detainee’s exact location. More than 150 minors were arrested with guns last year, and the arrests haven’t slowed this year.

“Many of these youngsters believe, because of their environment and what they see on TV, the way you solve a disagreement is to get a gun,” Wharton said. Godwin said too often minors caught with guns are allowed to return home on probation without serving time in lockup. As a result, he said they don’t fear the system. “Right now they put them on probation and tell them: ‘Don’t come back down here,'” Godwin said. “How can they learn the consequences of their actions?” Overall crime by minors is on the decline, but violent offenses remain relatively steady, said Larry Scroggs of Shelby County Juvenile Court. Godwin said the system shouldn’t wait for the violence to escalate. He said last week’s arrest of a 16-year-old charged with a fatal shooting illustrates the need to attack teen violence earlier. He and the mayor are teaming to develop a pilot program, “Cease-Fire for Juveniles.”

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