Provo Daily Herald
Lehi resident offers GPS monitoring
to people on probation
Cathy Allred - Daily Herald | Posted: Friday, July 10, 2009 12:00 am
An offender, guilty of too many outstanding traffic tickets, gets to keep his job. Another gets to attend drug treatment.
Both got the help of Lehi resident Shane Tea.
A 44-year-old retired adult probation and parole officer, Tea provides an option for local and county offenders on
probation, giving them choices at a crossroads in their life with his two-year-old business, aptly named Crossroads Court
His clients vary, but for those under house-arrest or home confinement, he has a GPS monitoring device to attach to
their ankle. He also provides monthly face-to-face office contact, treatment coordination, community service tracking and
several other administrative tasks associated with probation. Tea said that after 20 years of working with the state of
Utah it's what he knows how to do best.
"I enjoy it," he said. "It is an opportunity to help people. Not everybody is a career criminal, they just made some really
dumb decisions, and we help direct them how to get through the items of probation."
He receives clients referred from such agencies as Provo's 4th District Court and Utah County, Lehi, Pleasant Grove,
Saratoga Springs, Heber City and Wasatch County justice courts, as well as referred cases out of Salt Lake, Iron and
Washington counties. Lehi City Justice Court Judge Garry Sampson said Tea's service saves money not only for his
clients (the offenders) but for the courts, too.
"The thing that is nice about Crossroads is, they have follow-through with everything from treatment to fees, and it frees
up the court personnel and we don't have to track them," Sampson said. "He's got a lot of experience, and it takes a load
off of me."
Those who are charged with a class B misdemeanor are charged $40 for each day they serve in jail. Under house
confinement, they pay a business like Tea's about $10 a day for a GPS monitoring service. Other services have varying
costs attached to them.
For some offenders, Tea's service means the difference between potential disaster and maintaining stability in their
home while serving a court sentence.
One of his clients, Mark [name changed], lived in California, so when he got a traffic ticket for speeding in Utah on two
separate occasions, he thought nothing of it. Then he moved to Utah. His third ticket for no car insurance on a newly
acquired vehicle landed him in court.
He said going to jail had its appeal, but he would lose the three jobs he works to make ends meet as a construction
worker, a graveyard shift employee and a basketball referee. "If I didn't go to work for five days, I'd get laid off from all
three of my jobs," Mark said about the alternative five-day jail sentence.
With Crossroads and a GPS monitoring device around his ankle, Mark can keep his jobs and care for his family of six.
Each client under house-arrest can travel to get the mail outside their home, about 50 feet, and step out on their back
porch. They are allowed to travel to work and back as well as get permission to attend certain events, like going to court-
ordered drug treatment.
"I'll be spending more time around the house. I'm sure my wife will have more jobs for me," Mark said.
Home confinement is usually a first-time experience for offenders. When they test the boundaries of the ankle monitor,
they find out quickly how well they work.
"He will know when he gets a call from me," Tea said. "These are dead accurate, up to a foot."
Tea has a main office for his business in Orem and two satellite offices, one in Heber and the other in Lehi. It's not often
a probation officer sees positive results come out of his work, Tea said, but several years ago he met a waiter at a
restaurant who gave him a memorable experience.
"He said to me, 'I just want you to know that I'm doing really well and some people do change,' " said Tea, who has seen
hundreds of clients come through the state probation system.
"I don't remember the offense, but it's great. You feel good when there are success stories because in law enforcement
you don't see a lot of success," Tea said.
Most of the cases Tea sees are people found guilty of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, domestic violence,
or in some cases possessing small amounts of marijuana.
The usual confinement is a three- to five-day sentence, although Tea has had some clients as long as six months.
"Most people, it doesn't even phase them because they go to work and go home," Tea said. "It just boils down to another
alternative, a tool for the judge."
• Cathy Allred can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.