When the SPOT unit receives notice of a proposed destination address for an offender or predator on parole, Guagnini pulls up a map of the area, accesses a list of sensitive facilities and their addresses and draws a 1,000-foot buffer around the address in question. If any facilities are within the buffer, the move is denied. Otherwise, Guagnini will use the proposed address as the centroid of a buffer with a one-mile radius, pull up a list of all sensitive facilities within that area and generate a notice and mailing informing them that an offender or predator will be living at that address. Guagnini pointed out that Florida statutes also require predators to wear a GPS/transmitter anklet, which gives FDOC the persons location, accurate to within a few meters, in realtime.
Guagnini said accuracy of the GIS-generated buffer has already been tested in the courts. "In one case, a predator hired an attorney who hired a surveyor, only to find the buffer was within several inches of where we said it was. The source of the base map on which the buffers are drawn is county appraisers parcel map, based on survey data. We take the centroid of the parcels on that map and geocode them."
Guagnini said the automated processes have enabled probation officers to keep abreast of the characteristically mobile offender population. "Offenders move mainly for economic or social reasons; the person may not be able to find a job, or community pressures may force them out. In Florida anyone can access the states public database of registered offenders and sexual predators."
Evans said in addition to adding wireless capability to allow probation officers in patrol cars to receive maps and reports, the county will expand Enforcer so that it automatically generates buffer zones and mailing lists to sensitive facilities and to every resident within a one-mile radius of a sexual predators home. The officer will only need to enter an address.
Although it is too soon for quantifiable results, Enforcer has given Pinellas County law enforcement the tools needed to proactively control and track sex offenders and predators. "We cant say that because of the technology certain crimes didnt occur," Guagnini said. "We just know that prior to Enforcer, it was a lot more difficult to manage the sex offenders. Quite often we would find out after they moved into our area that there were restrictions on them. After that, it took a long time to get them to move. Now, if there is a problem with a proposed address, we can prevent them from coming here before they have the opportunity to move."