Tamper proof: Albatrust 4G boasts battery life, durability
Earl Hoffert | Los Angeles Times
SACRAMENTO–New corrections technology merged with a bit of the old was showcased Friday afternoon for legislators questioning the efficacy of electronic monitoring. Weighing in at 10 pounds, Delco’s Albatrust 4G resembles an old fashioned ball-and-chain but it is much more.
Impervious to hand tools, the device is “virtually tamper-proof” and emits both a silent alert and “deafening” alarm at the slightest attempt to defeat it.
Late Friday, Corrections Secretary Jeffrey Beard appeared before the Assembly Public Safety Committee to discuss registered sex-offenders Franc Cano, 27, and Steven Dean Gordon, 45. The pair was arrested in April for the rape and murder of 4 Orange County women after investigators cross checked the crime scene(s) with GPS monitoring data. Over a 7-month period, the pair’s murder spree was recorded by GPS monitoring devices but was not detected by state and federal parole officials…
…Beard told Committee Chair Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) parole districts would begin equipping “extra-high risk sex offenders” with the new device. “Had the suspects (Cano and Gordon) been fitted with this unit, it is a virtual certainty the crimes would have been prevented,” Beard told the committee…
Committee member Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) was dubious over the device’s “ball-and-chain appearance…This seems ripe for a cruel and unusual punishment claim…”
Those concerns were addressed by Secretary Beard, who explained “security, not punishment, was the impetus to design…”
“Every part of the Albatrust 4G was designed to facilitate real-time monitoring…a large battery and data processor are key to that function. The data sphere houses the GPS circuitry, direct phone link to the parole agent, a 360 hour deep-cycle gel battery, multi-band RF (radio frequency) emitters, hi-decibel sonic alarm and an alarm clock function for the wearer’s convenience,” Beard said.
Unlike standard ankle monitors, the Delco Albatrust 4G is completely waterproof. Not only may parolees take showers without risking damage and a tamper alarm, the device “may be fully submerged and is waterproof to 30 meters,” according to the operation manual. “Notwithstanding the net 10 lb. weight, the data sphere is nominally buoyant, designed to maintain a depth of 1 meter thereby facilitating client participation in swimming and other water activities.”
… Delco’s Albatrust 4G notifies monitors and local law enforcement when the device is being “abused,” it continually checks the wearer’s heart-rate, body temperature and galvanic skin response rate. The LED window normally displays the current GPS coordinates. “When a health issue is detected, the data sphere summons the agent and the designated health service (if any), alternately displaying health data and GPS coordinates until reset” the manual indicates.
“We are currently determining which offenders must be fitted with an Albatrust 4G,” Beard said. “We estimate only 3 or 4 offenders statewide require such intense monitoring, given historic offense trends in each parole region but we purchased a dozen, just to be on the safe side…” (Full text at Los Angeles Times)