Sheriff’s deputies knew within seconds when Ryan Dieterle strayed too far from the electronic monitoring device in his house, the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. A red light and the word ALERT flashed next to his name on a computer screen at the Hamilton County Sheriff’s office, a signal he’d violated a judge’s order in his domestic violence case. But they had no idea where he was. Later, he was in jail and the suspect in the stabbing death of his estranged wife. Authorities say the case shows the potential – and the limitations – of the system used to track hundreds of accused and convicted offenders.
Dieterle’s wife, Michelle, refused to put a monitor in her apartment that would have warned her if he came within 500 feet. “If she would have gone with the program, she’d be alive today,” said Bruce Taylor, commander of the sheriff’s electronic monitoring program. The system tells deputies the offender is not where he is supposed to be, but it doesn’t tell them where he is. Mike Walton, Hamilton County’s court administrator, said more than 90 percent of the people who use the JurisMonitor system are involved in domestic violence cases. “It’s a very, very valuable tool,” he said. “But we need her cooperation.”