• 21
  • December

In a puzzling move, Gov. Scott Walker is considering those who are bound by orders of protection or restraining orders to be tracked by GPS monitoring. Essentially, the technology would allow victims of alleged or confirmed domestic violence protected by these orders to be alerted when those bound by the orders are near. Presumably, those protected by the orders would then be empowered to report the alert to law enforcement.

The Brookfield shooting in October, which Gov. Walker says inspired the proposal, was truly tragic. But forcing all persons bound by restraining orders to wear GPS monitors for an indefinite period of time seems like an extreme punishment to an entire population for one disturbed individual's deeds.

It is possible that this proposal, which has yet to be fully developed and officially released, will be included as an item in the state's budget introduced in early 2013. This move seems particularly extreme given that in 2012, Walker signed legislation that allows for GPS tracking of those individuals that violate restraining orders and pose a significant threat of harm to the person protected by the order. That law will not take effect for another year, so why impose a more extreme version of the law before the original legislation has even been put into effect?

Over 15,000 orders of protection are issued in Wisconsin annually. Only a fraction of those bound by orders violate them and an even smaller fraction actually cause harm to anyone protected by these orders. Forcing all individuals bound by orders to be tracked by GPS indefinitely seems like a move disproportionate to the madness of a single individual and a few others like him.

Source: Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, "Walker: GPS monitoring needed for those with restraining orders," Patrick Marley and Jason Stein, Dec. 19, 2012