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Indianapolis police union leader criticizes ankle monitoring

Posted at 9:40 PM, Dec 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-18 21:40:19-05

INDIANAPOLIS — In the midst of the fifth consecutive year of record-high murder rates in the city, the head of Indianapolis' Fraternal Order of Police is calling out a problem he said is allowing criminals to quickly get back out onto the streets and commit crime.

Right now, there are more than 4,000 offenders on electronic monitoring in Indianapolis, which Indianapolis FOP president Rick Snyder said is more than double any other city in the country.

"People are dying and being critically injured in our streets. And no one will even come out and say I'm outraged by this," Snyder said. "In the past 40 days, we have had 80 people shot, 29 people stabbed and 23 people killed. "We have more offenders on ankle bracelet monitoring than any other city in the nation. Does 4,000 people on electronic monitoring sound like a lot to you?"

Marion County Corrections executive director Tyler Bouma said their ankle monitoring program has evolved over the years. Now, they have caseworkers who work closely with those individuals to address root causes of crime and only send people to incarceration that are the least suitable to community supervision.

"It's not too much if you look at the fact that jail is a place to hold people, but it's not an environment where people with mental health issues, substance use issues and some of those other criminological needs can address those needs," Bouma said.

Snyder questions how effective electronic monitoring is when he says the city finds about 100 ankle bracelets a month that have been cut off by offenders. Some even found at crime scenes.

"How's that working out for us? We have had 609 people murdered — murdered — in the last four years," he said. "We've had shootings, stabbings, robberies, domestic violence and we'll find a cut off ankle bracelets somewhere in the area. We will apprehend you, we charge you with escape. Guess what you get? You get an automatic $500 cash bond and you're released right back out"

Bouma questioned the numbers Snyder referenced, however.

"It's wrong for people to cut their bracelets off, but a number of those 100 that he's referencing anecdotally are people that have completed their sentences and are just not having it properly removed," Bouma said. "Of the ones that are cutting them off criminally, that's an escape under Indiana statute and we address it immediately."

Bouma said it costs less than $5 a day to have a bracelet on somebody, as opposed to the substantially higher cost of incarceration. He said ankle bracelets can also help solve crimes when they do happen because police can locate where the bracelet was found.

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