GPS monitoring bracelet

The Edmonton Police Service has managed to extend their program for monitoring high-risk offenders for a fourth year, but funding will run out soon, as it did for a similar program in Red Deer yesterday. (CBC)

Edmonton police continue to use GPS tracking bracelets to monitor a half-dozen high-risk offenders, but it remains unclear how long they can keep the project running without additional funding.

On Thursday, provincial funding for a similar program in Red Deer that victims of domestic abuse relied on to keep track of violent boyfriends and husbands came to an end.

Jacqueline Biollo with EPS says six high-risk offenders are currently being monitored as part of a three-year pilot project that  began in 2011 with a $129,000 grant from the provincial government.

Although the program was due to end this year, Biollo says EPS was able to stretch the funds for an additional year.

"So we made an application looking at the dollars we had under the three-year grant and just expanded — made a case for sort of how and what we would do with these surplus dollars going into 2015."

Biollo praised the monitoring program, describing it as a good intervention and prevention tool for police.

It's not clear what will happen with the program once funding runs out.

'Holds offenders accountable'

When the program began in 2011, Det. Jamie Clover said electronic monitoring  "holds offenders accountable by providing information on an offender’s whereabouts at all times.”

The bracelets are also beneficial in reintegrating the offenders, Clover said, as they encourage offenders to remain in compliance with their conditions.

Once the bracelet is put on an offender and activated, it is monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The bracelet is  designed with an alarm and capable of two-way conversation.

If the wearer approaches or enters a zone not permitted by his parole conditions, police can call the device and tell the offender to leave, in addition to dispatching an officer to the location.

With files from Scott Stevenson