Cuyahoga County judge offers insights on criminal GPS tracking program

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - You've probably heard a lot about GPS ankle monitors in the news lately.

Just a couple weeks ago former Cleveland police officer Tommie Griffin III cut his bracelet and ran.

He was placed on the monitor as he was waiting for trial.

Deputies knew in real time the minute he cut the bracelet.

"The GPS is probably the more up-and-coming in the use of monitoring than keeping someone in the county jail," said administrative Judge John Russo.

Russo is a big fan of GPS ankle monitors for people who have been accused of a crime, or as a part of sentencing.

"In the arraignment room, we do it five to 10 times a weekly, easily where we have ordered electronic monitoring if they have made their bond," Russo said.

The County has 300 GPS ankle monitors, so what happens when they are all being used?

We've been asking the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department since the first part of October and haven't gotten an answer.

The Sheriff's Department administers and runs the program.

Judge Russo answered, "Unfortunately, they stay in the county jail."

He says that person is placed on a waiting list.

People go on and come off the monitors every day.

Until one is available, the person will not be released.

He says he's not aware who is ordered to be on GPS and released, without the bracelet.

When they've reached their cap of 300, they will reconsider who really should be monitored.

"We look at who's on one now, when are they coming off, can we cut them off instead of at 60 days, 50.  There is some discussion and negotiations to see," Russo said.

Does the county need to buy more GPS ankle monitors? Russo says while he would love more, he understands it comes down to money--not just to pay for the monitor itself, but the deputies who track the monitors in real time.

"Sheriff Pinkney along with his staff would make that determination. I hope they would do that, I hope they would realize the savings of not having someone in the county jail, but also having a bond requirement by having a monitor available," Russo said.

Copyright 2017 WOIO. All rights reserved.