Federal Probation Officers to Be Retrained After Difficult Case

Federal probation officers are being ordered to undergo additional training, and are being put under closer scrutiny after a 2013 incident that saw a man, who was on probation at the time, kill a woman and rape a child. The case caused outrage among many in the upstate New York community where it occurred, when authorities revealed that the man had been able to disable a court ordered monitoring bracelet before committing the crimes.

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In January 2013, suspected child pornography possessor, David Renz, was ordered to wear an electronic monitoring device and was released from custody to await trial. While awaiting trial Renz repeatedly tampered with the monitoring device, which sent a reported 46 alerts to federal probation authorities.

Some two months after being released, Renz was able to disable the monitoring bracelet, which allowed him to leave his home undetected. After freeing himself from government oversight, Renz went on a crime spree that included killing a school librarian and raping a 10 year-old girl.

The failure of federal probation officers to oversee Renz has had ripple effects throughout the system. Due to a series of congressional inquiries, spearheaded by U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), the Syracuse federal probation office, which was responsible for monitoring Renz, has been reorganized, and federal probation officers throughout the country are being retrained regarding the proper way to monitor suspects with the electronic devices.

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According to the head judge on the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts, John D. Bates, the reorganization of the Syracuse office’s operations was in order to “bring it in line with national standards.” He added that “the probation office has undertaken a rigorous retraining effort.” The efforts are meant to better train officers on how to recognize and respond to alerts which indicate that the electronic monitoring devices are being tampered with.