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It is GPS Monitoring, not GPS Tracking

by Jean-Simon Serrano

“Wow…thank you. I didn’t realize GPS would be so interesting.” That was the most repeated comment by attendees at the last meeting of the Riverside County Barristers Association after Petra Fuhriman co-owner of GPS Monitoring Solutions explained the difference between tracking and real-time, 24/7 GPS monitoring. Although it was the second meeting of the month, criminal defense and civil attorneys in attendance perked up when Petra mentioned how judges often reduce bail when the devices used were the latest-greatest in technology. Additionally, since the units are water-proof, attorneys learned their clients no longer need to bag up their leg while taking a shower.

The meeting was filmed in part because Bonnie Russell of PersonalPublicRelations.com is encouraging Family Court judges to use GPS with Victim Notification in Family Court in conjunction with restraining orders for some cases. Victim Notification Russell said, is true “community policing” as it factors in the intended victim to help save their own life. Russell’s excitement that technology now exists for judges to, for the first time, render an effective restraining order was almost palatable. Perhaps that’s why she’s participating in a documentary and was their to film the meeting. Separately, Russell smiled sweetly while noting the AOC seems to prefer software that doesn’t work rather than software that would save lives as well as the city, county, state, and court resources.

Apparently, word of Petra’s work travels fast. Since the meeting, Homeland Security heard about the latest in GPS technology and has specifically requested Petra monitor a woman who was previously deported but in the country to testify in a high-profile case out of LA. Homeland Security wanted to make sure the witness would be boarding a plane to return to her county after testifying, instead of disappearing elsewhere afterward.

The type of GPS Petra demonstrated, featured real-time monitoring, made me feel uneasy with the system Riverside currently uses, which is the more expensive, tracking of historical data. County officials might want to compare costs between real-time monitoring, against after-the-fact, tracking. Particularly since the real-time devices feature straps that can’t be cut.

Jean-Simon Serrano is an associate at Heiting & Irwin, a Riverside Law Firm Specializing in Plaintiffs’ Personal Injury (such as Auto Accidents and Medical Malpractice) as well as Workers’ Compensation.

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