Charleston deputies taking over ankle monitor system

      By Gregory{}

      CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCIV) -- The Charleston County Sheriff's Office is now responsible for tracking people ordered to wear ankle monitors.

      The GPS tracking systemwilll cost $275 per month for each person put on house arrest in the county. Starting Tuesday, the sheriff's office took over the program.

      But with the change in responsibility, it means some bail bondsmen are feeling relieved. Robinson Bail Bonds has been around for decades. Jim Robinson owns the place and has been and has been monitoring ankle bracelets since the 1980s.

      Robinson says keeping up with people on house arrest isn't easy.

      "They tamper with the strap, they wouldn't pay for the unit or they'd violate it and you had no one that would help you do anything," said Robinson. "We don't have the authority to arrest anyone."

      For the past five years, Robinson says he's pushed for stronger monitoring laws. Last month he finally got what he asked for.

      "Judge Young is now the circuit court judge and he did something about it. The sheriffs are now taking it over and has the authority to arrest people before, no one did," said Robinson.

      At the Sheriff Al Cannon Detention Center, Field Training Instructor Robert Harvey oversees the new system.

      "I can see every GPS point our tracking system has picked up someone using the system," said Harvey.

      Satellite technology tracks every move someone makes while wearing the ankle bracelet.

      "I can see zones he is and isn't supposed to be in, the condition of the bracelet strap the last time it was charged, how long it was charged. I can see everything," said Harvey.

      The bracelet even sends a silent alert if the bracelet is tampered with.

      "If you mess with the strap or break it, you get three years automatically and you are coming back to jail and everything you've worked for is ruined," said Harvey.

      Robinson says he's thankful monitoring the bracelets is a thing of the past.

      "We have people now who haven't paid for the monitors so that's money out of my pocket. Hopefully they are going to take over those, too," said Robinson.

      The sheriff's department put their first inmate on the new system Tuesday afternoon.