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Sheriff's Dept. begins Monitoring Device Pilot Program

Bracelet monitors health of people in custody

SAN DIEGO – The San Diego County Sheriff's Department is committed to improving jail safety. Technology plays a key component in its comprehensive improvement plan.

The Sheriff's Data Services Division and the Detentions Services Bureau have researched and are developing a pilot project to closely monitor individuals who are identified as someone who may experience a medical emergency while in custody. This technology is similar to the commercial fitness devices that monitor heart rates.

Unlike commercial technology, devices used in a custodial setting must be tamper proof and designed in a manner that does not pose any security risks to the individual, staff and the facility.

The Sheriff's Department has been working for a few months to build the infrastructure, policies and best practices to deploy this technology. It has developed a timeline for a small pilot program using ten devices at San Diego Central Jail. This pilot program will focus on some of the most at-risk individuals.

The devices will be consensually placed on those who are deemed medically vulnerable. Their vitals and motion will be monitored by deputies and medical staff who will be alerted when there is a change in condition to the person's health. The department sees potential for this program and its expansion. There are challenges related to battery life, the size of the device and the increased staff work needed to support the program.

It hopes this pilot program proves effective in supporting its existing security and wellness checks and other monitoring programs. It will not replace any of its current policies.

The cost of the program is approximately $1,000 per unit and is funded by the Sheriff's Department's current budget.

Submitted by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.


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