GPS tracking costs questioned

by Bob Hague

GPS tracking of convicted pedophile could cost millions, according to the state Department of Corrections.

It's dubbed "Project Kidsafe;" employing what's known as active Global Positioning Satellite technology. The DOC's Bill Grosshans testified as the Assembly passed legislation (AB 591) got a public hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. "This bill now requires lifetime GPS monitoring of certain child sex offenders, mandates a more expensive form of GPS monitoring, and is much more staff intensive for both probation and and parole agents and the Department of Corrections monitoring center," he said.

Grosshans also told committee members that his department estimates it will need more than $3 million to implement this program in its first year alone, with annual costs totaling $90 million after twenty years, and 740 additional, full time employees. The bill's Assembly author, Abbotsford Republican Scott Suder, says those figures are way out of line. "The department has overinflated the costs, for whatever reason," said Suder. "The department needs to remember that we allow the department to charge the sex offender for the costs." Suder added that federal funding is also being pursued.

Still, Suder and Assembly cosponsor, Oconomowoc Republican Joel Kleefisch, remain confident that the bill will pass the Senate and get the support of corrections, and the governor's office.