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DA Hopeful Shows He's Tough on ... Himself

Michael Untermeyer, a Republican candidate for district attorney in Philadelphia, believes the city could save millions of dollars by moving nonviolent defendants out of prison and keeping track of them by way of electronic monitoring bracelets.

Bracelet To underscore his point, Untermeyer is demonstrating the effectiveness of GPS ankle bracelets -- by slapping one on himself. Throughout September, Untermeyer will wear an ankle bracelet 24/7. Anyone can track his whereabouts by going to his campaign Web site and following the Find Mike link.

It is actually kind of fun to do as a lesson in how police use these things. The link takes you to the officer login page of a company called SenTrak, whose tag line is "Offender management solutions that work for you." After you log in (using Untermeyer as the name and password), you come to the "officer control module." From there, you make your way to another screen displaying the "client status." There you click on "locate" and, at last, a map opens with a red star showing his location. With another click, you can get a map showing the history of his locations over a period of time.

[If you are tempted to try this yourself, note that the map feature did not work for me in Firefox. You may need to use Internet Explorer.]

According to Associated Press, Untermeyer says it costs $98 a day to keep someone locked up but just $8 a day to monitor the person electronically. His Democratic opponent, Seth Williams, told AP that Untermeyer's bracelet is just a gimmick and that there is no quick fix for prison overcrowding.

Whether the ankle bracelet will help Untermeyer get his foot in the door of the DA's office, I can't say. But I would advise Untermeyer that, if this DA thing doesn't work out, he should send a resume to the folks at Google latitude.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on September 9, 2009 at 11:41 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)


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