George Zimmerman was released on bond from a Florida jail on Monday. Wherever he goes a sensitive GPS tracking device pinpoints his exact location for authorities and alert them if he drifts even a few feet away from where he is allowed.
Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder after he shot 17-year-old African-American Trayvon Martin at close range on February 26. He has been in hiding since Monday as he awaits trial.
Seminole County Sheriff’s officials are not giving details on how the GPS tracking device is being used to monitor Zimmerman but they say he is wearing it 24/7 and his movements are being monitored round-the-clock. He must pay an $8-a-day fee to use the GPS tracking system, which is generally used to track people charged in domestic violence cases.
According to David Engel, who runs a bail bonds business in Sanford, the GPS tracking system is so sensitive that the monitoring computer can be alerted if the wearer strays unintentionally a few feet into a restricted area.
The GPS tracking system is like a cellphone. It consists of a small box, receiver and battery charger and it is fixed to the user’s ankle with a thin strap. A computer software enables “inclusionary zones” and allows the tracking system to monitor and determine whether the person is being complaint with his release conditions, which in Zimmerman’s case, includes where he is allowed to go and whether he is observing curfew imposed on him. Zimmerman has been asked to observe a curfew between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m.
AP reports that local bail bondsmen whose clients have worn the GPS tracking device say it is a very highly sensitive device that can send messages to monitoring computers in real-time.
The GPS tracking program has been in use since 2003 in Seminole, FL, and provides “real-time monitoring of an offender’s movements and is capable of monitoring anywhere in the U.S.,” according to a sheriff’s office news release.