Chain down flight risks with tracking bracelets


Dangerous immigration offenders including suspected war criminals should be fitted with electronic ankle bracelets so they can be tracked if they’re being released into the community,say Canadian police and border officials.

Police said the monitoring technology is so sophisticated that ankle bracelets are tamper-proof and can contain GPS tracking devices,live three-way communications and programmable “no go’”zones that sounds and alert if a person tries to flee.

Police and border officers said the devices can be used to target some of the 42,000 immigration violators sought on warrants in Canada,of whom 30 suspected war criminals and 30 foreign hoodlums have been publicly identified by Ottawa through prodding by this very news agency –which has led to 10 fugitives being nabbed.

Officials of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) said about 20,000 immigration offenders are sought in the Toronto area,with 1,400 of them being hardened criminals.

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews,who has been spearheading the drive to round up illegal immigrants,said he’s in favour of using the technology.

“I am supportive of the electronic surveillance,but there are some problems with the technology that makes some of the effectiveness of the present devices not particularly effective,”Toews said by e-mail.

Officials of the Canadian Police Association said the devices are a “must-have”for law enforcement.

“It is a very valuable tool to increase supervision and reduce the likelihood of flight,”said a CPA official. “It is also cheaper than keeping someone in custody.”

Police said the gear could have been used to monitor most-wanted criminal

Walter Ernesto Guzman,35,of El Salvador,who was nabbed after a nationwide search only to be released by an Immigration and Refugee Board in Montreal,causing a furor because he has a history of violence. He has since been deported.

The device could also have tracked accused pimp Walford Uriah Steer,39,a deportee with 76 convictions,who was also the subject of a search,and is being deported for a second time to Jamaica. He was arrested while trying to pimp a 16-year-old girl.

Ron Moran,president of the Customs and Immigration Union,said he has been lobbying for the use of the monitoring devices for years.

“Our enforcement officers will be able to monitor high-risk offenders through the tracking devices that (are) widely used in many jurisdictions,”said Moran,adding the device can be used on those who have broken the law,have gone underground or are dangerous.

“These people have given up some of their rights,”Moran said. “This will be a great tool for our front-line officers.”

Moran said offenders should be kept in detention as their “layers of appeals”are heard. He said the union has also been calling for improved enforcement measures,including a facial-recognition biometric lookout system at all points of entry.

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