Where are all the ankle monitoring devices for criminals in Hamilton County?

By Dan Wells – bio | email

CINCINNATI (FOX19) – Hamilton County cut programs in order to buy ankle monitoring devices, but now they're sitting on the shelves.

The Hamilton County Sheriff's Office says the county is using less than half of its supply to keep people on home arrest.

The question is why?

For years we've heard ankle monitoring devices are a cost-effective and a relatively safe alternative to jail.

"Well we have 565 of them which are paid for we're only using 225 of them," said Hamilton County Commissioner Greg Hartman.

Hartmann, who pushed to get even more " E.M.U." devices last year, says he wants to know why taxpayer funded crime fighting resources have been sitting idle.

"I'm frustrated. I think it's a ball drop, I think it will get worked out, the frustration is we cut from other areas to pay for this, I went through the budget last year and found a million dollars to buy fifty more E.M.U. units and monitor those units by sheriff department officials," said Hartmann.

Sheriff's officials declined our request for an interview.

Hamilton County Judge Heather Russell says she thinks she may know what the problem is.

"Part of it is because you have to have a Cincinnati Bell land line, in Hamilton County to be on an E.M.U., so if they (criminals) don't have a land line they cannot use it," said Russell.

Now even though that may be an explanation, many judges say it's not an answer especially when they're trying to decide how to protect the community and to punish offenders.

"I was on the phone with Major Taylor who runs the E.M.U unit, I talked to him about some ideas to make sure we are using all the resources we have, a meeting is set up for tomorrow and we will proceed from there," said Hamilton County Judge Brad Greenberg.

"We don't have enough room in the jail to keep everybody in there so we ought to be using every resource we have to give these folks some sort of punishment," said Hartmann.

County officials will meet Tuesday with the Sheriff's department to discuss this issue.

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