February 18, 2014 By PAIGE ST. JOHN, MCCLATCHY NEWS SERVICE
Electronic monitoring was supposed to help Los Angeles County deal with the influx of thousands of felons moved out of California’s prison system to ease overcrowding.
The nation’s largest probation department strapped GPS ankle monitors on the highest-risk of those convicts, expecting the satellite receivers to keep tabs on where they spent their days and nights, and therefore keep the public safe.
Instead, agents are drowning in a flood of meaningless data, masking alarms that could signal real danger.
County probation officers are inundated with alerts, and at times received as many as 1,000 a day. Most of the warnings mean little: a blocked signal or low battery.
The messages are routinely ignored and at times have been deleted because there were so many, officers say.