Wilmington City Council Members Continue Efforts to Have the City Adopt the ShotSpotter Gunfire Tracking System

Posted on  02/11/2014 11:14 am

Wilmington City Council Members Michael A. Brown, Sr. (R-At-Large), and Darius Brown (D-3rd District) are continuing their efforts to have the City adopt a cutting edge policing tool called “ShotSpotter.” Both Council Members were instrumental in introducing the ShotSpotter system to the Williams Administration and to the Wilmington Police Department a few months ago as a way to assist City police by providing police with detailed information about gunfire incidents seconds after they occur. They say that such timely information will be vital to the investigations of shootings, possibly leading to more arrests of shooters as well as enhancing crime analysis and improving public safety.

The Council’s Public Safety Committee is chaired by Council Member Michael Brown. Yesterday, with Council Member At-Large Loretta Walsh chairing the committee in the absence of Council Member Michael Brown, the committee reviewed an ordinance that would allow the City to enter into a three-year, $415,000 contract for the ShotSpotter technology to be implemented in Wilmington. The committee decided yesterday to send Ordinance 14-004 to the full Council for consideration at its February 20 meeting.

“Wilmington’s police officers are on the verge of having precise information available information about when and where a firearm has been discharged and the added possible benefit of a camera being aimed at the site of the gunfire,” said Public Safety Chair Michael Brown. “More effective policing and reduced crime may hinge on a matter of minutes or seconds when our police are on the streets near where weapons are being discharged. For their safety, our citizen’s safety and in the name of improved public safety, ShotSpotter will be a welcome addition to policing tool box.”

“I've been working to reduce violence in the 3rd District through the Safe Neighborhoods Initiative,” said Council Member Darius Brown. “In August, I forwarded the recommendations of the Safe Neighborhoods report to the Williams administration. One of the recommendations was to use ShotSpotter to address the rise in shootings and unsolved cases regarding firearms. I hope the administration will continue to embrace ideas from Council as we work together towards a safer, stronger City.”

Council President Gregory today expressed his support for the ShotSpotter technology and thanked Council Members Michael Brown and Darius Brown for addressing the need for this technology and then advocating strongly for its implementation. “ShotSpotter will be an invaluable tool in our City’s policing plan to address crime and make our neighborhoods safer,” said the Council President.

Council Member Walsh told yesterday’s committee that the ShotSpotter technology is a “godsend” that should produce smarter and more productive policing in Wilmington.

SST, Inc., the company that provides the ShotSpotter service, says its technology detects loud impulsive incidents, classifies them as gunfire, fireworks or another sound, and begins an instant analysis of the incident which sends information to police officers about the location of the incident. SST says its technology is designed to detect 80% of unsuppressed outdoor gunfire and will pinpoint the shooter’s location to within 25 meters.

Council Member Darius Brown says another added benefit of ShotSpotter is the continual data collection and the entry of the data into the police department’s crime analysis system which will provide the police with more accurate information to not only detect crime, but prevent crime from occurring.

“This is a needed crime fighting tool that will support our men and women in blue,” said Council Member Michael Brown. “It is our responsibility as elected officials and as citizens to make sure the police have the technology and equipment they need to carry out their mission to protect us and our great City.”

The Council Members says they are grateful to the Mayor and the WPD leadership for listening to concerns about the City’s current gunfire detection system which has been deemed to be inadequate and listening to their suggestions that the ShotSpotter technology be explored and embraced.