WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA9) -- Just one day after the apparent suicide of a DC cop who was charged with child pornography, some new questions are emerging about the electronic monitoring system that was supposed to ensure he never left his home.
The body of 32 year-old Marc Washington was pulled from the water near Hains Point in Southwest last night.
If he was indeed wearing a monitoring device, why did no one realize the officer had left his home in Waldorf, Maryland and headed to the District to commit suicide?
You may be surprised to learn that it is very rare for a defendant to be monitored around the clock. On any given day in DC, there are 375 defendants awaiting trial and equipped with GPS monitoring devices. Most are only being closely tracked during business hours.
Washington was equipped with that GPS monitoring device and under home confinement as of yesterday morning. Less than 12 hours later, his lifeless body was plucked from the frigid waters of the Potomac River.
Several sources tell us it is extremely rare to monitor a defendant 24/7 unless that person is a flight risk or a public safety threat. In most cases, PSOs, or pretrial service officers, won't even learn a defendant violated their home confinement until the next business day, when an alert is sent via email.
The head of DC's pretrial services agency, Cliff Keenan, said:"While the supervision technology is good, it's not foolproof and it's not going to make some people do the right thing all the time."
Ironically, court documents reveal that in Officer Washington's case, "The government asked the Court to detain the defendant without bail pending trial." It was a request that was denied.
The Washington case remains under investigation, but based on standard procedures, it is unlikely his child pornography charge would have made him a candidate for round-the-clock surveillance.
One other note: PSOs are not routinely issued smart phones, so even if they were willing to work off the clock, they would not necessarily have access to those emailed alerts.
Again, DC is attempting to keep track of 375 defendants who have electronic monitoring devices, but there are as many as 45-hundred others also under pre-trial supervision, but not equipped with GPS.
Written by Andrea McCarren, WUSA9