Metro police and the state Board of Probation and Parole are now monitoring via GPS devices the activity of 10 people suspected of gang associations.
The pilot program was adapted from a similar one used to track sex offenders, and officials hope the program will not only lead to safer communities where gangs have a presence but also to more gang-related intelligence.
Offenders in the program must wear ankle bracelet transmitters that communicate with tracking devices that notify officers when an offender is in certain areas, such as those associated with gang activity, or when an offender isn’t where he or she should be, such as work or treatment.
If the devices indicate a violation, police along with probation and parole officers would visit the offender to investigate.
Lt. Gordon Howey, head of Metro’s Gang Unit, said detectives chose to focus on those 10 individuals for the initial phase of the program using a list provided by the board. Detectives selected those who were already on probation or parole, and were tagged as re-offenders.
The nine men and one woman selected for monitoring in the pilot program include those shown to be re-offenders. Each individual is monitored based on his or her gang affiliations and locations related to activity by that gang.
“The goal certainly is that they’ll become productive citizens … and satisfy their court sanctions through probation or parole, and then we can move on to somebody else,” Howey said.
Police have identified three or four others who could be added to the program (which costs $4 per day to operate) as others are taken off of it.
Those individuals who are being monitored as part of the pilot program include Mario Brooks, 30; Mario Polk, 30; Alysa Meas, 20; Jeremy Braddy, 26; Kenneth Fletcher, 21; Quincy Dansby, 28; Corey Laron Battle, 28; Jason Fuqua, 32; Akeem Baker, 27; and Joseph Russell, 33.
Police said all are associated with the Gangster Disciples, Bloods, Crips or Vice Lords.
The board began using GPS technology in 2007 to monitor sex offenders and other high-risk criminals. Board Chairman Charles Traughber said his board is sharing the use of the technology with the police department to see how it might affect policing gang activity.