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Governor Gregoire Directs Expansion of Electronic Monitoring of Sex Offenders

For Immediate Release: September 26, 2007

GPS monitoring will be expanded to the highest-risk offenders using the Governor’s emergency fund

OLYMPIA - Governor Chris Gregoire today announced that the most dangerous sex offenders will be tracked using an electronic global positioning systems (GPS) device, in order to help law enforcement effectively monitor their movements with a goal of keeping communities safe. The expanded electronic monitoring will be paid for with money from an emergency fund that can be used by the Governor for critical needs of the state.

“As Governor and as a mother, keeping communities safe is one of my top priorities,” said Governor Gregoire. “With the advice, guidance and partnership of state and local police officers, we are taking additional measures to better track sex offenders to better protect communities.”

Governor Gregoire last week ordered the Department of Corrections (DOC) to work with local law enforcement to develop a set of criteria to use to expand electronic monitoring immediately, to include the state’s highest-risk sex offenders. Beginning this week, DOC began placing GPS monitors on sex offenders.

GPS devices use satellite technology to allow law enforcement to track the location of sex offenders.

“This additional monitoring, on the worst offenders, is an appropriate, measured response to an immediate need in our communities,” said Mountlake Terrace Police Chief Scott Smith.

In cooperation with the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs (WASPC), the DOC Community Corrections Division will install the monitoring equipment, enroll offenders in the program and manage the cases.

“As we have worked through these issues in the Sex Offender Task Force, we are looking to measures that will work to keep communities safe,” said Kitsap County Prosecutor Russ Hauge. “The action that Governor Gregoire is taking today is a quick, effective way to help protect communities from the sex offenders most likely to re-offend – such as those who are homeless and unemployed.”