After a 14-year-old arrested on charges relating to Tuesday night’s carjacking spree across Uptown New Orleans was found to have a non-working ankle monitor, the sheriff’s office has pledged to look into what went wrong with the electronic monitoring program and a City Council committee is promising its own investigation.
Police followed a Toyota Solara taken at gunpoint from the 2300 block of Marengo Street — the third of four armed robberies that night — to the Ninth Ward where its three occupants bailed out. Two were found, and when police saw that the 14-year-old suspect was wearing an ankle monitor, they were initially hopeful that its data would allow the to determine whether the teen was also involved in a carjacking at Camp and Delachaise that in which a local attorney was shot in the chest.
On Thursday morning, however, Sheriff Marlin Gusman issued a statement saying that the device had “ceased to communicate with the central monitoring office, which resulted in the Sheriff’s Office viewing old data,” according to our reporting partners at WWL-TV. The statement goes on to promise an internal investigation of both the device and the officer in charge of it.
The efficacy of the ankle-monitoring program has been a source of continued concern for the City Council Criminal Justice Committee, which is chaired by Susan Guidry and includes Stacy Head and Jacqueline Clarkson as members. That committee also promised to investigate the issue in a harshly-worded statement issued Wednesday, after NOPD Sixth District Commander Bob Bardy first mentioned that the teen was wearing the device:
For almost six months, the Council has been gathering information about failures in the electronic monitoring system. Some of these failures have led to deaths and shootings that may have been otherwise avoidable. Recent events have illustrated that problems with this system continue. It is the responsibility of the City Council to pass a budget that mirrors the city’s priorities, of which public safety is number one. In order to assure that the public is protected as well as assure that the city’s continued financial commitment to this program is appropriate, the City Council Criminal Justice Committee pledges to work with the administration, district attorney, judges, sheriff and inspector general in an investigation of the electronic monitoring program.