NC agency to end GPS ankle monitors for homicide suspects

North Carolina news

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) — Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney announced Friday that the department would be ending the electronic GPS monitoring system for homicide suspects.

According to CMPD, the department is currently monitoring 463 suspects who have been ordered by a judge or magistrate to wear a monitoring device as a condition of their pre-trial release, including 31 people charged with murder.

To date, 127 of those out on electronic monitors have cut theirs off and ran – with 18 still being sought. Around 100 people have committed another crime while being monitored, officials said, including one murder.

Putney said those numbers create a public safety issue, and he’s made the decision to do what he can to stop it.

“A better place for them is being in jail, awaiting trial,” Putney said during Friday’s press conference. “We can’t in good faith allow for our people to monitor people charged with murder.”

Putney added that the department was looking into ways to be “more strategic” when it comes to handling other violent offenders as well. He said that CMPD is assessing ending the monitoring program for armed robbery suspects, as well as other suspects in other violent crimes such as sexual assaults.

In the past, Chief Putney has been critical of judges who have set bonds low enough to allow defendants accused of violent crimes to bond out. In late November, Putney said the criminal justice system was flawed.

“The bigger issue is if you don’t break the cycle of violence it’s going to continue,” Putney said in November. “The other people are the other criminal justice partners they have to step up, hold these repeat violent offenders accountable.”

Putney said then that the department was considering pulling out of the electronic monitoring program. Now that they have, it’s unclear what the court system will do.

But, the chief said during Friday’s press conference, that the decision to end the program for murder suspects was something he felt needed to be done.

“It’s my decision,” Putney said. “I have a responsibility to the public, it’s on me.”

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