Lee County Sheriff Considers Offender Tracking Software

From our East Alabama news partner WTVM:

Crime victims in Alabama will soon be able to track their offenders by phone or the Internet. Lee County hopes to join the system soon, and help those who may be afraid of revenge.

Many victims live in fear of what may happen when offenders get out of jail. It became a nightmare for one woman. She was told she'd be notified if her attacker was ever released, but she wasn't. He came back and killed her.

That's when VINE, Victim Information Notification Everyday, was created. Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones wants to be a part of it.

"We get lots of calls from time-to-time from victims wanting to know the status of the individual who's been charged in any particular offense," Jones said.

Jones said they try to help victims as much as possible, but it's hard to make sure everyone is looked after. VINE should help.

"This will be a way for a person to use either the Internet, or a toll-free number that can check on the state of an offender anytime of the day or night, and know exactly where the individual is," said Jones.

Victims can register and search for certain people.  They can be immediately alerted by phone or e-mail when something changes.

"It provides a system where an individual, who has been a victim of crime, is notified when that person makes bond after being arrested on a charge, or when their court appearances are. It has a multitude of functions, but the bottom line is it provides victims with real-time information about offenders in their particular case," Jones said.

Attorney General Troy King he hopes VINE is adopted everywhere around the state. Two agencies currently use it, and Lee County is hoping to install the third. Jones said it's a valuable tool in keeping victims safe long after the crime.