Effectiveness of ankle monitors in tracking criminals

Court records show the man who shot two Orlando Police officers last Friday night was supposed to be under police supervision.

He was required to wear an ankle monitor issued out of Georgia, but he broke it off.

During a June encounter with University of Central Florida officers, Daton Viel could have been arrested but instead of cooperating, Viel took off running and got away. This has sparked concern about ankle monitors and their effectiveness.

George Drake is a former corrections officer, he understands why people in this case might have doubts about the device. He says most of the time they help, but there's never a guarantee.

"I think electronic monitoring has probably prevented crimes like this from occurring. It doesn't cause crimes like this to occur," Drake said.

When an offender breaks off their ankle monitor, their parole officer is notified and immediately officers are on the search for them.

"Even though we're notified within a minute or two, it could be in the middle of the night. We need to get officers on duty, and when we had that we had a response protocol that was very robust," he said.

Drake also said, ankle monitors are designed to be cut off. This is just in case of an emergency, if a doctor needed to cut it off they can. Regardless if a doctor or an offender cuts it, law enforcement is notified right away. Orange County Sheriff's Office discontinued using the device years ago. Marion County Sheriff's Office uses ankle monitors and for them, it's working.

"I do feel like it has an effect, especially on our offenders. They are aware that we know where they're at every 15 seconds and most of them try not to violate," Detective Michelle Wright said.

Detective Wright says cutting off ankle monitors in Marion County doesn't happen frequently. One time this year and once in 2022.  In their cases, they were able to find the suspect quickly.