Michael props his ankle near an electrical outlet and charges the monitoring bracelet he’s worn 24/7 for a year and a half. The 18-year-old says it’s keeping him out of trouble.
Michael, who chose not to give his full name for this story, is one of the 400 or so offenders the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Electronic Monitoring Unit now tracks using the bracelets, which are linked to a computer program that retroactively checks the scene of a crime to see if any previous offenders were in the area when the crime was committed. The unit is notified every time someone wearing a bracelet violates his or her restrictions. An officer calls the criminal or seeks him or her out to give a warning or to take them to jail.
The unit began in 2007 as a way to keep tabs on violent criminals, using the bracelets mostly on them, but has shifted gears within the last few years to help prevent young, one-time offenders from slipping into a cycle of crime and punishment.
And it seems to be working. The unit says the bracelets have curbed crime — Michael being an example of their effectiveness. The Department of Juvenile Justice, which is tasked with preventing youth crime, has even passed along some of its more serious cases to the unit.
Dave Scheppegrel, who created the unit and worked in it until he retired from CMPD in August, began seeing how many young people were going to jail for breaking into cars and homes and robbing people. He decided the monitoring devices could be used as a preventative measure — keeping young people accused of crimes where they need to be, when they need to be there. Most are used to enforce curfew and some can be programmed to keep offenders out of areas they’ve caused trouble in before.
Most break-ins are done by kids under 21, first-time offenders. If you touch a stove and find out it’s hot, you won’t touch it again. These kids were finding it to be a little warm and they weren’t afraid to go back to it. —Dave Scheppegrell, Electronic Monitoring Unit creator
Michael was arrested for breaking and entering just after his 17th birthday and has been wearing his ankle bracelet while he awaits trial in a court system pushed past capacity.
He says that he fell in with the wrong crowd while he was 16, which led to problems with his mother. They were always close, but during some arguments she would threaten to kick him out of the house. That’s when he started thinking he was going to need some quick money. He was picked up by police and charged with breaking and entering.
He got it harder than some of his peers. While a majority of those wearing monitoring devices are kept to a curfew that allows them to roam the city between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., a strict judge placed Michael on full-time house arrest. He was allowed to attend high school until he graduated last year and is now waiting until after his trial to apply for college.
Michael says he has tried to stay positive, but it’s evident he’s a little frustrated with his predicament. “It beats jail but at the same time, it doesn’t. You are confined to this one place,” adding that he’s grateful he’s at least allowed to choose what he eats and when he sleeps.
Michael is also thankful he can still play video games and have friends over, but a lot of his old friends don’t come around anymore.
It’s shown me a lot and taught me a lot. —Michael, 18 year old program participant
He has become close with Officer Adrian Johnson of the Electronic Monitoring Unit since going through a voluntary Life Skills class for young offenders held at the Urban League offices. Johnson recruits young people wearing the devices to attend the class once a week for a month. Brian Gainey, an Urban League member, ran the first class in January. Nine young men showed up, and none were all too enthusiastic to be there. Gainey, 30, spoke about the “hood mentality” he was obsessed with as a young man having run-ins with the law in High Point and then Charlotte before meeting a mentor.
None of the attendees seemed ready to voice their opinions, so Gainey took it upon himself to show examples of the mentality he spoke of. He told a couple of guys in the class to find one of their favorite songs on their phones, and he played a few out loud. The first song was by Young Jeezy and began with, “I can show you what to cook like,” a reference to crack.
The next song blared out, “Ridin’ hard every day making sure I ain’t broke.” A member of the class recognized the rapper as Lil Snupe, who died last year in a shooting over bets placed on a video game.
Gainey has turned his life around and is now married with an 8-year-old son. He wants to effect that change onto others.
People that society is ready to condemn can really turn it around if society is ready to work with them. I know because I was that guy. —Brian Ganey, Urban League member
Michael stays in touch with Johnson on a weekly basis. He says he has been more selective of friends, not letting those who cause trouble to come around him. His mother also stays in touch with Johnson, begging him to keep her son on the ankle bracelet once his trial is over. She’s only half-joking, scared to see her son fall back into bad habits.
But the devices have to come off eventually, and offenders must fend for themselves once their case has been settled. Michael says he plans to keep his head down and avoid jail time.
Panel of independent M2M experts honor those solutions with the greatest innovation and highest degree of customer satisfaction
January 8, 2014 – Omnilink today announced that four tracking and monitoring solutions powered by Omnilink were honored with A-List in M2M awards from NE2NE and Compass Intelligence. The A-List in M2M award winners were announced at the 2014 Compass Intelligence Awards Press Luncheon at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.
NE2NE’s A-List in M2M honors organizations at the pinnacle of the M2M world, and includes those companies and individuals who offer the best and finest M2M products, services, and service enablement solutions in the industry. NE2NE and its sister company, Compass Intelligence, rank M2M providers every year.
We are truly honored that not one, but four solutions received this prestigious honor. There are a lot of electronic monitoring, asset tracking, senior tracking, and connected car solutions available today. This award was about a panel of M2M experts surveying the landscape and comparing and evaluating products in each of these categories. They concluded that Omnilink’s solutions are the best—-the most innovative and the best loved by customers. We look forward to continuing our legacy of innovation in 2014, and to helping businesses, consumers, and government agencies track and monitor people and things brilliantly with the world’s most reliable and intuitive end-to-end solutions. —Kelly Gay, chief executive officer, Omnilink
Omnilink’s FocalPoint® Offender Monitoring™ solution—the most reliable and user-friendly electronic monitoring system available for tracking offenders in the community—won the Law Enforcement award in the Remote Monitoring category. Omnilink Asset Tracker™—an all-in-one asset tracking system that gives businesses the ability to track and monitor the location and condition of all your company’s physical assets across the U.S. and beyond via their computer, tablet, or smartphone—won the Asset / Equipment Tracking award in the Remote Monitoring category. Additionally, Verizon SureResponse®—a senior monitoring solution—and Audiovox Car Connection®—a connected car solution—both powered by Omnilink, received A-List in M2M awards for excellence in their respective categories.
“The Compass Intelligence Awards recognizes world-class organizations that exhibit superior technology and innovation within the Internet of Things,” said James Brehm, senior strategist and consultant, Compass Intelligence.
The Compass Intelligence analyst team—through interviews with market participants and extensive secondary research—compares new product launches, product features, product modifications, products in development, and R&D investment, and evaluates each company based on degree of innovation and customer satisfaction. The highest ranked companies are then vetted and sent to an independent panel of more than 20 objective analysts, journals, and leaders in the M2M space—including Frost & Sullivan, Heavy Reading, Gartner, Computerworld, Ovum, ABI Research, CIO Magazine, TMC, IHS, Yankee, Creative Strategies, IDC, and more—for voting.
The A-List in M2M award represents Omnilink’s second major honor in 2014. Omnilink was also recognized as a top company by Connected World Magazine’s CW 100 list, the fifth consecutive year Omnilink has been recognize by the M2M publication’s annual list.
Honored alongside Apple, Google, Verizon, Microsoft, IBM, Cisco, Intel, Sprint, AT&T, GE, Ericsson, and more
January 3rd, 2014 — Omnilink today announced that it has been named to the 2014 CW 100 list, Connected World magazine’s annual list of the 100 most important and influential providers of machine-to-machine (M2M) services. Omnilink has been honored with this prestigious industry award for five consecutive years, beginning in 2010.
Omnilink shared the CW 100 2014 honor with other top technology brands including Apple Inc., Google, AT&T, Cisco Systems Inc., Ericsson, General Electric Co., Hewlett-Packard Co., IBM Corp., Intel Corp., Microsoft, Sprint, Verizon Wireless, and more.
The CW 100, determined by the editors of Connected World magazine, identifies the very best M2M technology providers and partners in business today. Since 2002, the CW 100 has proven to be the definitive list of companies providing the top M2M products and services, demonstrating significant market traction, and pursuing game-changing technologies in connectivity.
“We are very honored to have been recognized as a top company by one of the leading trade publications in the M2M industry for a fifth consecutive year,” said Kelly Gay, chief executive officer, Omnilink. “We look forward to continuing to innovate and to helping businesses, consumers, and government agencies track and monitor people and things with reliable and intuitive end-to-end solutions.”
About Connected World magazine
Connected World is the definitive resource on connectivity trends and mobile lifestyles. The magazine and Website are the authoritative voice that set the direction for influential individuals looking to take innovation and emerging technology to the next level. By shaping the way readers embrace connected devices, Connected World helps make the present look more like the future. www.connectedworldmag.com