Maffei to propose federal legislation to bring accountability to Probation Office following Renz case

David Renz's electronic monitoring device

Rep. Dan Maffei says he will propose legislation later this month that he hopes will bring accountability to the Federal Probation Office.

Maffei asked the nonpartisan Congressional Research Office for information and options about what could be done in light of the David Renz case.

Renz is accused of removing his electronic monitoring bracelet before killing Lori Bresnahan in front of a 10-year-old girl in March. The Syracuse office did not respond to several alerts generated by Renz's ankle bracelet that indicated it was being tampered with.

"The problem here was not fundamentally a failure of equipment but a failure of personnel and a failure of policy," said maffei on Tuesday.

Maffei will ask for an independent watchdog to oversee the Federal Probation Office and to establish a nationwide standard for responding to electronic monitoring bracelet alerts.

Maffei also wants to make tampering with an electronic monitoring device a federal crime. State Senator Patty Ritchie has proposed making it a felony crime at the state level.

The Congressional Research Service noted that different probation offices around the country currently have varying policies and that the Syracuse office apparently "chose not to receive tamper alerts that lasted less than five minutes."

Renz is alleged to have disassembled his ankle bracelet, removed it and reassembled it in less than five minutes.

Maffei said the Renz case was a "failure of personnel and of policy" and he believed that better standards and oversight could have prevented it.

Bill Cregg was the first to find Lori Bresnahan and comforted her during her final moments. Cregg has been speaking with lawmakers about ways to improve the probation system and believes the legislation is a step in the right direction

"We want to make sure there isn't another Lori Bresnahan in Syracuse or Tallahassee Florida or Boise Idaho and this legislation could potentially prevent that from happening," said Cregg.

Read the CRS report on the David Renz case.

Read Dan Maffei's Memo on legislative measures to prevent future cases similar to the David Renz case.