Gang task force meets, discusses juvenile crime

The Albany Police Department's Gang Task Force and Violence Prevention unit are briefed by Judge Richard Booker. / Mike Manzoni

The Albany Police Department's Gang Task Force and Violence Prevention unit met this morning at Government Center where they were briefed by a local juvenile court judge on the state of youth crime in Dougherty County.

"We try to give them something meaningful, something where they're really accomplishing," said Judge Richard Booker, the special guest speaker.

Judge Booker said one the primary issues facing the county is the limited facilities in which to detain juveniles. He said there are only 30 beds in the local detention center.

"They're [the juveniles] assaulting teachers, they're disrupting schools," he said, adding that the most commonly cited juvenile issue is school disruption.

He also briefed the task force on advancements in monitoring technology. He said the county rents monitoring ankle bracelets for $7.25 per day. The bracelets can locate a person within eight feet. The tamper-proof devices also have the ability to sound a siren in the event the child tries to run away. The bracelets, he said, are considerably less expensive than the $225 it costs per day to house a child at a detention center.

Taxpayers do not foot the entire cost. Judge Booker said parents are assessed a $100 to $300 monitoring fee when their child receives the bracelet.

Judge Booker said there are 2,800 cases involving juveniles each year, with about 1,300 of those involving crime.