By Luis Patino, Information Officer II | OPEC

“It’s a law enforcement Cinderella story,” said Division of Adult Parole Operations (DAPO) Director Robert Ambroselli, referring to a yearlong study by federal law enforcement experts about California’s use of Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) technology to supervise high-risk sex offenders.

“Everyone knows that we faced some huge challenges after some very unfortunate tragedies,” he said, “but we’ve turned those tragedies into lessons learned, and instead of just meeting the bar, we’ve raised it.” 

The GPS study found that high-risk sex offenders (HRSO) under GPS supervision are only about one-third as likely to commit another sex-related violation as HRSOs who are supervised without GPS monitors.
The study also concludes that GPS supervision reduces the likelihood that an HRSO will be re-arrested by half. These outcomes come at a cost of about $8.51 a day per parolee for GPS monitoring, the study found.
“This is a resounding victory for our state in the fight to keep California’s children safe from sex-offenders,” said Ambroselli, who spearheaded the use of GPS monitoring. 

He credited DAPO’s GPS unit and every parole agent and staff member for the turn around.
“It’s a testament to their hard work that we are once again setting the national pace for how to supervise high-risk sex offenders,” he said.

For Parole Agent Wendy Zeto of the Capitol District Office in Sacramento, the recognition is great, but it’s the results that mean the most.

“It’s very satisfying when we can get these guys off the street before they create another victim,” Zeto said.  “It makes me feel good that we always know where they are because of the GPS tracks, and we can go get them if they’re in places where kids congregate, she said, referring to the conditions of parole for child molesters.

She also was enthusiastic about the ability to help local law enforcement solve crimes by using the GPS tracks to correlate crime scene information.  She says the use of GPS supervision is “extremely valuable.”
“Monitoring High-Risk Sex Offenders with GPS Technology: An Evaluation of the California Supervision Program” is one of the first rigorous studies to demonstrate important benefits to GPS supervision. This study, produced by the Development Services Group Inc., was funded with a grant from the National Institute of Justice.

DAPO also uses GPS monitoring with high-risk gang offenders, which also is the subject of a study funded by a National Institute of Justice grant. The study is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2013. The scope of the study can be found here.