Firm disputes Gusman's claim ankle monitor worn by suspect wasn't working, Guidry says

Firm disputes Gusman's claim ankle monitor worn by suspect wasn't working, Guidry says

Firm disputes Gusman's claim ankle monitor worn by suspect wasn't working, Guidry says

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wwltv.com

Posted on October 5, 2012 at 6:17 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 10:06 AM

David Hammer / Eyewitness News
Email: dhammer@wwltv.com | Twitter: @davidhammerWWL

On Thursday, Orleans Parish Sheriff Marlin Gusman blamed a faulty ankle bracelet  for allowing a teen wearing one of the monitors to go undetected Tuesday and Wednesday to allegedly commit two armed robberies Uptown.

But now, 4 Investigates has learned that the company that supplies the bracelets disputes the sheriff's explanation and says the ankle monitor the 14-year-old suspect was wearing did accurately signal that he was somewhere he should not have been.

On Thursday, Gusman's office said, "A preliminary investigation by the Orleans Parish Sheriff's Office has determined that OmniLink's monitoring equipment ceased to communicate with the central monitoring office, which resulted in the Sheriff's Office viewing old data."

But District A council member Susan Guidry, chairwoman of the City Council's Criminal Justice Committee, said an OmniLink representative disputed that verbally.

Also a written report by OmniLink said the suspect violated his curfew the day before the robberies and the sheriff's office was alerted.

Guidry said her committee is investigating now to determine who is correct.

"We have received conflicting information, information that may well conflict with the statement by the sheriff," Guidry said. "We need to have solid documentation and information from both the sheriff and OmniLink. Finally we need to look at the monitoring orders that came from the judge."

Guidry also said the council is consulting with city Inspector General Ed Quatrevaux on the matter.

The sheriff's office released a report by OmniLink that appears to at least say that the ankle bracelet was not transmitting. The "Offender Monitoring System Report" for the sheriff's office by Daniel Graff-Radford, Omnilink Systems' vice president and general manager, states that the monitoring center got an alert of "No Communication" shortly after 11 p.m. Monday and called the sheriff's office to notify them, which seems to contradict the sheriff's claim that his office didn't realize that the data was old.

In addition, the report only addresses up until Oct. 1, and a source familiar with the investigation told Eyewitness News that the monitor worked again on Tuesday, Oct. 2, and notified the sheriff's office that the boy was violating the terms of his confinement.

The OmniLink report also states that the 14-year-old already had to have his bracelet replaced once before, the second day he had it. OmniLink said it needed to conduct a diagnostic review of the device and recommended that "OmniLink's Monitoring service needs to (be) reviewed to ensure that there are no gaps in response for alerts."

“Omnilink and the OPSO are working toward a full evaluation of the Orleans Parish Electronic Monitoring program and this specific incident,” said Daniel Graff-Radford, vice president and general manager of Omnilink.  “We will present a report evaluating the entire program and this incident. Until that report is finished, Omnilink has no official statement about this incident or the operation of the program as a whole.”

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