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Dutchess and Ulster County: an inability to coordinate an electronic monitoring effort for a teen

Posted May 26 2011 12:00am
The counties are calling this a "glitch". They are also testing their own devices on domestic offenders within the next few months. I hope they choose an active, live monitoring system so that glitches don't occur with violent batterers. If we are going to release people that are threats to society, we need people monitoring them 24/7 on the other end of the device.

By Freeman staff

THE inability of Dutchess and Ulster counties to coordinate efforts to electronically monitor a Plattekill teen awaiting action in a criminal case against her appears to have been a “one-time glitch,” an Ulster County legislator says.

Jack Hayes, who chairs the Legislature’s Law Enforcement and Public Safety committees, said he called Ulster County Executive Michael Hein and his own counterpart in the Dutchess County Legislature to make sure there were no problems with the two counties working together after reading news stories that said electronic monitoring could not be arranged for suspected car thief Tavia Alvarez, 17.

Hayes, R-Gardiner, said he also spoke to Dutchess County Senior Assistant District Attorney Edward Whitesell, who had requested Alvarez be monitored.

“At this point, it appears to be a one-time glitch rather than a major policy issue,” Hayes said on Wednesday. He said he still had follow-up calls to make on the issue but that it did not appear any policy changes by the counties were needed.

In a letter to Dutchess County District Attorney William Grady, Hayes said the two counties have had, and must continue to have, a strong relationship, be it in criminal justice matters or other areas. Hayes said he also spoke with Dutchess County Legislator Ken Roman, a town of Poughkeepsie police officer and chairman of the Legislature’s Public Safety Committee. Hayes said he and Roman, R-Poughkeepsie, agreed if there was anything they needed to address in terms of policy, it would be attended to immediately.

Earlier this month, Whitesell said he had wanted Alvarez electronically monitored as a condition of her release on March 9 from the Dutchess County Jail, where she was being held after a February incident in which police chased her while she was driving a stolen car and ultimately shot her when she allegedly tried to ram them with the vehicle. Because Alvarez is a Plattekill resident, however, Dutchess County and the Ulster County Department of Probation had to coordinate their efforts and were unable to do so, he said.

Alvarez, who was freed from the Dutchess jail because of a medical issue, then was arrested earlier this month in connection with two car thefts that occurred after her release from the Dutchess jail.

Whitesell has said he was not criticizing anyone for the inability to coordinate the monitoring effort; he merely was noting obstacles that could not be overcome.

Alvarez remains in the Ulster County Jail in connection with the most recent car theft charges and still has charges pending against her in the Dutchess County case.

In yet another case, she pleaded guilty in early April in Plattekill Town Court to five misdemeanor counts of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and was sentenced to three years of probation.

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