Amanda's Law with GPS tracking goes into effect

Amanda Ross
Amanda Ross
Diana Ross
Diana Ross

Louisville, KY - By Janelle MacDonald - bio | email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Some say it could be life-saving. A new Kentucky law went into effect Thursday that allows the use of GPS monitoring for some domestic violence offenders.

Commonly known as Amanda's Law, it was named after the woman police say was killed by former Kentucky lawmaker Steve Nunn.

Diana Ross, Amanda Ross' mother, just in the last few days begged judges to use this law at every chance they get.

Right after Governor Steve Beshear signed the bill into law Ross said, "please give this law and this technology a chance to save lives."

At the Center For Women and Families, they believe the law can save lives but not alone.

"I know that GPS tracking has been used in situations like that as just another tool," said Tamara Reif, Senior Director of Client Services at the Center. "If it works as part of a tool package then by all means but it certainly wouldn't be the only thing that victims could use to still be safe."

Reif believes the law's biggest impact will be in the publicity it's generating.

"I think most importantly it's just going to be bringing awareness to domestic violence and the victims," she said.

A check of the law reveals some limitations. First, judges can only use it after a substantial violation of a domestic violence order, like an assault, stalking, kidnapping or harassment. Second, it's up to individual counties how to administer the GPS devices.

A Louisville Metro Corrections spokeswoman says they have field tested the equipment but it's not ready to go online yet. Pam Windsor says Corrections will meet with Violence Prevention Coordinating Council later this month to discuss implementation strategies.

Reif also thinks an important part of the proposed bill got cut out by the time lawmakers passed it into law.

"We know that we're still missing some pieces especially with dating violence that we want to still work through and hopefully this is kind of the first step," she said.

Reif hopes domestic violence victims will see the potential for GPS tracking of their abuser as only one step to take toward safety.

"You know nothing is fool proof and we have to make sure that we're using all the tools we have to help women stay safe," she said.

If a judge orders a domestic violence offender to wear a GPS, the offender will also have to pay for it.

The law also makes it a felony to take the device off or tamper with it.

For domestic violence help, 24 hours a day, you can call the Center For Women and Families Crisis Line at 1-877-803-7577.

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