By ROBERT PIERCE • Daily Leader
Last October, Ivanhoe Love Jr. of Adolescent Support Services met with the Seward County Commission to talk about the need for additional resources and additional electronic monitors to be utilized for juveniles that were court ordered to house arrest.
The department has also been testing a global positioning system unit with the electronic monitors, and Love came to the commission Monday to update the board on the testing for the court.
“As you know, the electronic monitor test came as a result of the juvenile court’s desire to place more juveniles on electronic monitoring,” he said. “We are engaged with that test. Since we’ve appeared before you in August of ’08 until today, we’ve had a total of 46 clients on these electronic monitors.”
Love said the cost has varied from $3.50 a day to $5 a day depending upon the level of supervision.
“It has cost us total about $7,000 since we started averaging about $1,100 a month,” he said. “We find that having completed the test, it is a viable option for the court. Depending upon the level of supervision the court chooses to impose upon one of these juveniles, we believe the electronic monitoring certainly would save the taxpayer in detention costs if properly supervised.”
Love said Adolescent Support averages about 17 clients per month.
“We think the GPS monitoring system is the way to go because it’ll allow us to track juveniles throughout the city no matter where they go,” he said. “We can pull it up on a laptop.”
Love said use of the monitors will save the department about $130 a day for the cost of a juvenile.
“The court has indicated to us their intent is to put about 40 clients on the electronic monitoring,” he said.
Love said the monitors will give the court an additional option when it comes to sentencing to avoid sentencing kids to detention.
“The most expensive part of what we will do will cost about $5 a day,” he said. “That’ll vary from 10 to 15 days depending upon what the court sentences the client to.”
Love said once the GPS is on the client, they can be followed wherever they go in town.
“We’ve got the map,” he said. “It shows the street. It shows the location. It shows pretty much where the kid is at.”
Love said he feels the system is something the department should have been using years ago to track juveniles.
“It’s quite a tool, and I highly recommend that you continue to use it as we’re currently doing it,” he said. “What is happening is the court is sentencing the kid to us and saying, ‘Put this kid on electronic monitor.’ We in turn are doing that, the bill is being sent to the county, and the county’s paying the bill.That situation seems to work fine.”
Love described the unit which the juvenile will use in the system.
“We have a little leg band that goes around their leg,” he said. “We also have a cell phone GPS thing that goes on the person that the person carries.”
Love said the system is not necessarily a complete cure, but merely a tool that Adolescent Support can use to help supervise.
“We think that it’s a viable tool,” he said. “It is something the court certainly has at its disposal to use to help us in supervising the juveniles in Seward County. I highly recommend that you continue the use of it, and we think it’s a good product.”