File photo (above): SB 5149 passed by a unanimous vote by the state Senate on March 9, 2020, which brought the final approval of the Tiffany Hill Act. It was later signed into law by Gov. Jay Inslee. Named for the 35-year-old mother of three, the law created by the bill will promote the real-time electronic notification of victims of domestic violence and similar crimes when their abuser or attacker is nearby.
VANCOUVER – On March 9, 2020, SB 5149 also known as the “Tiffany Hill Act,” was signed into Washington State Law (RCW 2.56.260). This law allows judges to order domestic violence offenders who are released pending trial to wear a specialized GPS ankle monitor.
The ankle monitor provides real-time alerts to the domestic violence victim and to police when an offender violates the distance provision of a protection order by coming within the exclusion zone of the victim’s home, school, or workplace. In addition, the domestic violence victim will be notified when the offender comes within the distance provision of the victim’s cell phone via an app. The victim can receive notification by text message, email, and push notification.
Clark County District Court Probation Services partnered with 2 Watch Monitoring and began this program on June 7, 2021. In addition to providing installation, monitoring, and removal services, 2 Watch Monitoring will also assist victims with the installation and education process for the notification app.
Since the launch of the program, Clark County judges have ordered six high-risk domestic violence offenders to participate in the program.
“Clark County District Court Probation Services Division is excited to work closely with 2 Watch Monitoring, Vancouver Police Department, and other community stakeholders on the implementation of an Electronic Home Monitoring Program with Alert Notification for victims of domestic violence. Being the first county in the state to implement this program we are setting the stage on ways to make our community a safer place for victims,” said Bryan Farrell, administrative services manager for Clark County District Court.
“I am extremely proud of the work that went into launching this program in Clark County to use technology to help protect victims of domestic violence”, said Vancouver Police Chief James McElvain.
“It’s fitting that Clark County has taken the lead for our state on implementing the Tiffany Hill Act and allowing domestic-violence victims to create a zone of protection for themselves, beyond the words on a paper restraining order,” said state Sen. Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver. “That’s because Tiffany Hill was a Clark County resident whose murder at the hands of her estranged husband might have been prevented if this technology had been available to her. The Vancouver Police Department and Clark County criminal-justice community were instrumental in getting my bill passed unanimously. They, like me, saw how this law could give victims a chance at regaining the sense of self-control that is possible when there’s no more looking over their shoulder. This is very encouraging news.”
“Our court is extremely proud of the work being done by our justice partners and District Court Pretrial and Probation Services Division in implementation of the Electronic Home Monitoring with Alert Notification Program,” said District Court Presiding Judge Kelli Osler. “We are deeply saddened by the murder of Tiffany Hill in our community by her abuser. To avoid further needless tragedies, it is imperative on all of us in the justice system to make our community a safer place for everyone. Implementation of this program is a step in the right direction.”
Information provided by Vancouver Police Department.