MN County Using GPS to Warn of Stalking, Domestic Violence Threats


Ramsey County, Mn., is launching a project using GPS technology to warn victims instantly of stalking or domestic violence when a defendant is nearby, and then dispatch police, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The pilot project, the first of its kind in the metro area, is not for the most dangerous offenders, who typically remain in jail pending their trial. The tracking device, called Stalker Alert, could be part of a no-contact order in felony domestic violence cases where the defendant is considered to have “medium-risk” potential.

Police will be sent when offenders violate a five-mile movable zone, and the supervising agent decides the victim is at risk. Project Remand, a private nonprofit organization that supervises domestic violence defendants who are awaiting trial, will use pretrial officers to screen defendants for the program. “Our biggest challenge in supervising that population has been in enforcing protection orders and making sure the defendant complies with that,” said director Mary Pat Maher. The program is voluntary, said County Attorney John Choi, whose office is leading the effort. Victims who choose to participate will carry a receiver the size of a computer mouse, while offenders — who may comply as a condition of bail set by a judge — would wear an ankle bracelet.

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