RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – People who find themselves in Judge G. Robert Cook’s courtroom are finding out quickly they don’t want to wind up there again.
“People know that I’m gonna hear about it if they are in fact drinking,” said Judge G. Robert Cook.
The Rio Rancho Municipal Judge said the new judicial rules introduced in July, really shook things up.
“Without a bond, without a way to oversee people that are arrested, defendants, I thought this was another option that we ought to exercise,” said Cook.
He’s now issuing ankle monitors that detect alcohol consumption.
“It’s too important to me, we’ve seen so many times people arrested again and they’re not supposed to be even drinking at all,” he said.
Cook said he doesn’t want to keep seeing the same faces in his courtroom, and he also wants to keep the community safe.
“It takes in a reading of your skin,” said Rick Davis.
Davis works for EMTZ Tracking, the company supplying the ankle monitors.
“They come into the lobby of the jail, at the Sandoval County Detention Center, and we’ll put on the bracelet there at that time,” said Davis.
Taxpayers aren’t paying for it, though. The defendants get charged $63 a week for one of the monitors.
“Sometimes we can be two weeks, sometimes it can be till the case is resolved which could potentially be six months,” he said.
Cook said it’s his way of holding people accountable.
“Making sure that people who have a tendency to drink and drive will think about it twice,” said Cook.
He said the monitors are doing so well, some people have actually paid to keep the monitors on after trial to help keep them from drinking.
The judge is also putting a boot or steering wheel lock on some drunk driver’s cars after they’ve been convicted, but also for people he said are prone to fleeing from police.
In a previous version of this story, it stated “The Rio Rancho Magistrate Judge,” when it should have been “The Rio Rancho Municipal Judge.” The story has been corrected. KRQE News 13 regrets the error.