LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Physical or mental abuse leads to fright. Even after the victim gets help, fear doesn't easily go away, especially when the abuser is in the same town. "They (victims) are concerned about whether the abuser is going to show up at their place of work or at their children's school," Joann Black, assistant director for Women's Shelter of East Texas explained.
But what if the abuser is wearing a global positioning system (GPS) electronic monitor. Police can track the wearer's movement. "If he were to about of the zone these little arrows would be red," Angel Eason, Nacogdoches County probation officer illustrated on a computer monitor. Numerous arrows showed the spots a probationer had been within his zone. "And if he were tried to tamper with it or do anything to it or the battery is getting low or if he disconnected the strap or he was moving around, but there wasn't a GPS signal. So it kinda tells you everything," explained Eason.
And when abusers are too close to their victims a warning can be issued. That's now the law for convicted domestic violence offenders on probation. Texas is just one of 17 states that now legally requires the use of GPS in domestic violence cases.
Abuse counselors already feel better for their clients. "It increases the victim's sense of safety and security where as they can continue to get on with their independence and their life," Deidra Ware, Women's Shelter counselor said.
The Nacogdoches County probation office is well aware of the law, but has questions about vague language, lack of funding and confusion over the bill. And counselors are concerned no one wants to provide the victim a false sense of security.