CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department will no longer track homicide suspects with electronic monitors because it said the program allows too many dangerous criminals back on the streets to commit more crimes.
CMPD officials said there are 31 murder suspects who are out of jail on electronic monitoring.
They said 12 people being monitored are charged with rape.
Police Chief Kerr Putney has been reevaluating the monitoring program.
"I'm the one who makes the decision, and this is the way we're going to go," Putney said.
He has also been considering dropping it altogether and said eliminating homicide suspects from the program is a step in the right direction.
"We can't, in good faith, allow for our people to monitor people who are charged with murder," Putney said. "That just does not make good sense if we're true to our mission."
Putney said they may also stop monitoring other defendants charged with violent crimes.
Officials at the Police Department said they laid out several examples Friday afternoon of defendants who committed serious crimes while on electronic monitoring, which included armed robberies, assaults and a murder.
CMPD's new policy is raising some questions for some.
"I'm not sure why the police would choose to opt out," said Kevin Tully, Mecklenburg County chief public defender.
He said police started the monitoring program to keep track of serious offenders and dropping it for some crimes, doesn't make sense and doesn't make the community safer.
"I think a step in the right direction would be a serious evidence-based consideration of who is appropriate to be monitored," Tully said.
There were two other factors in the chief's decision, which were time and money.
It costs hundreds of thousands of dollars and seven officers to operate the electronic monitoring program.
"The fact that there were 31 people charged with homicide out on monitors who remain out means they haven't failed to appear or committed a crime while out, and certainly haven't killed anyone," Tully said in a text on Saturday. "If that's the case, I would say the monitoring has had more success on homicide defendants than with anyone else."
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