At least three people have been ordered by Kentucky judges to wear ankle monitors after allegedly ignoring orders to self-isolate.
The state residents were diagnosed with the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus.
“They were instructed to isolate; they have refused to do so,” Steve Conrad, chief of the Louisville Metro Police Department, said during a virtual town hall this week. “That has created a problem, an obvious danger of them potentially spreading the virus.”
In the first case, police officials worked with the county attorney’s office and the health department to get a court order mandating the person to stay at home and stationed police officers outside the man’s home.
Using police officers to guard one person “was not a particularly good use of police officers or deputies from the sheriff’s office,” Conrad said. Officials turned to using ankle bracelets that are normally used by corrections officers to track people on home incarceration.
The legal process in getting the ankle bracelets onto people refusing to comply with isolation orders has become more streamlined after the first case, according to the police chief.
“We’ve been in a position to react if they leave home without having to station personnel there full-time,” he said.
Amy Hess, Louisville’s chief of public services, also praised the measures.
“We can now back out and we are not further exposing our first responders but we can also monitor that person’s activities, to make sure they’re not further affecting their community,” she said.
“While I think that has been very successful, clearly we would prefer not having to do that at all. We would prefer people to comply with the order to begin with, to comply with the social distancing.”
Jurisdictions can ask judges for an “order of isolation” under Kentucky law. Judges should consider whether sufficient scientific evidence has been introduced to support such an order, according to a public health law judicial reference guide for state courts.
“An isolation or quarantine order should only be issued when an individual appears to be suffering from a serious disease capable of being easily transmitted from person-to-person. The government entity seeking the order must show, by clear and convincing evidence, that the individual poses a risk to the public’s health sufficient to necessitate deprivation of that individual’s liberty,” the authors, including Mark Rothstein, director of the Institute of Bioethics at the University of Louisville, wrote.
While Louisville officials indicated that all three people with bracelets tested positive for the CCP virus, Judge Charles Cunningham, who issued the two most recent orders, told the Louisville Courier-Journal that only one person tested positive, while the other lived with that person.
A request for the order from the city’s health department indicated that one person was “walking around” while the other was believed to have left their home.
A Metro Corrections officer who was sent to attach the ankle monitors had a fever and was being tested for COVID-19, Tracy Dotson, spokesman for the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 77, which represents the workers, told the Courier-Journal. That officer is still waiting for the test results to come back, Dotson told The Epoch Times in an email.
Members aren’t being given proper equipment to carry out some operations, Dotson added, while questioning the effectiveness of the monitors.
“We do question the value of the level of protection the public is receiving from those citizens who are ordered to be quarantined in their homes without on site, 24/7 surveillance by a Peace Officer, which is currently not the case,” Dotson said.
“The monitoring system we are utilizing will only alert us if the citizen leaves their home, it does not prevent them from leaving. A monitoring anklet is little consolation to someone who was infected by a potentially deadly virus because the ‘quarantined’ citizen made it to a public venue before an Officer could catch up to them.”
The first order was signed by Jefferson Circuit Chief Judge Angela McCormick Bisig. Dean Watts, the county judge-executive, said the order was allowed because he declared a county emergency.