COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Following the murder of Ohio State University student Reagan Tokes in February, two Ohio legislators are questioning whether GPS ankle monitors are effective and say they may provide a false sense of security to Ohio residents.
This came after police accused Brian Golsby, 29, of killing Tokes. They said he was wearing a GPS device while committing the killing, along with several other robberies and assaults in and around Columbus’ German Village area.
Ohio State representatives Kristin Boggs and David Leland question if GPS trackers on parolees protect people from dangerous criminals.
“I think that it really lends me to believe that the idea of GPS tracking or GPS monitoring for individuals that are released from incarceration really just provides a falseness of security to the public,” Boggs said.
“We’re not doing a good job of protecting the people in the State of Ohio,” Leland said.
The state representatives said the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections did not keep a close eye on parolee Golsby.
Golsby was rejected from halfway houses in Columbus due to his violent past, Boggs said.
“There wasn’t any exclusionary zones put on his monitor. Essentially, he had this monitor on with the false assumption that someone is going to be monitoring his whereabouts and nobody was,” Boggs said.
Exclusionary and inclusionary zones outline where a parolee can or cannot go. Golsby didn’t have any, which means he could go anywhere he wanted. GPS data was recorded and not monitored, according to Boggs.
NBC4 Investigates tried for several days to get an on-camera interview with the Department of Rehabilitation and Correction’s director, Gary Mohr, and spokesperson Joellen Smith to talk about the process of monitoring GPS units and Golsby.
Smith responded in an email:
As you may know, DRC has respectfully declined all on-camera interviews in regards to this subject.
Smith cited Ohio law as a reason she can’t talk about either subject.
That law is Ohio Revised Code 149.43, which states that the following records are not public record:
Records pertaining to probation and parole proceedings or to proceedings related to the imposition of community control sanctions and post-release control sanctions.”
Representative Boggs sees it differently.
“I think that you don’t want to talk about problems that exist. This is an unfavorable situation,” she said.
Now, Boggs and Leland look to review the way the parole system is operated. The goal is to make sure the prison system, parole authority, and halfway houses monitor GPS and to be sure that police have access to information.
“So you have a system where there is three entities that need to be reviewing this information and understanding where the person on parole that has a GPS monitoring system has been,” Boggs said.
She and Leland said they are reviewing the parole system and it will be time-consuming. But making improvements is their goal to keep everyone safe.
“We are going to do all we humanly possibly can do to make sure this never happens to someone else,” Leland said.