City Council Committee Moves Forward with Proposal to Deploy Shot Detection Sensors in Pasadena – Pasadena Now
A Pasadena City Council committee on Thursday put forward a measure that would allow city police to use a gunshot detection system for three years.
The Shotspotter system deploys microphones and detection sensors in city neighborhoods to determine the location of gunfire and quickly alert police. Its impact is questioned by some civil rights groups across the United States.
During discussions at the Public Safety Committee meeting on the proposed purchase of a three-year subscription with ShotSpotter Inc., committee members agreed to take the matter to the full city council.
The proposal to purchase the $ 640,000 subscription with the ShotSpotter system is on the city council’s agenda for Monday, September 27.
The Pasadena Police Department says the system, which essentially registers a loud, impulsive sound and alerts police in 60 seconds or less to the location of the shot, would save lives, deter gunfire and avoid having to investigate non-shooting incidents (such as fireworks).
During the meeting, board member John Kennedy asked staff to provide more data regarding the artificial intelligence-powered system as he raised reports and concerns about its effectiveness and the possibility that it could cause excessive surveillance in areas where gunshot detectors will be deployed, which he noted are areas northwest of Pasadena.
Kennedy suggested that the funds for the purchase of the subscription be used instead for efforts to strengthen the relationship between the community and the police.
“It would be unwise for the council or this organization to go ahead unless it finds out what the results have been for some of the other cities that have deployed this technology.”
“I think we have a good police department, I just don’t want us to use $ 700,000 for this technology if we can use it for another community building effort that puts our officers in the field in. interaction with our [community] to improve police-community relations, ”Kennedy said.
Lt. Bill Grisafe said that after analyzing Pasadena Police data, ShotSpotter proposed to cover approximately a three square mile area of Pasadena that is most affected by gun violence. There was no mention of the specific area covered.
“In my opinion, this is not excessive surveillance, it is a technological tool that allows the police to respond and hopefully it also facilitates their investigation,” said City Manager Steve Mermell . He stressed his belief the system was needed amid the rise in gun incidents in the city over the past two years.
Mermell continued, “It would be located in a part of our city where we have the most incidents of gun violence and the people who live in those areas of our community shouldn’t have to put up with gun violence, and so I think that if this tool can help you, it is worth a try.
Mermell assured the city could terminate its contract with ShotSpotter Inc. sooner if the system did not meet the city’s expectations.
Mayor Victor Gordo expressed his support for the proposal. “I’m ready to move the article forward because if we have any technology that can deter, avoid, or help catch authors, we have to use it.”
Council member Tyron Hampton also expressed interest in moving the discussion forward.
“By all means, we must do all we can to protect the lives and quality of life of our residents who live in residential neighborhoods,” said Hampton.
The Pasadena Police Department has responded to over 300 gunfire reporting service calls and 400 other incidents of gun-related crime in the past two years.
During the same period, nearly 40 members of the Pasadena community were killed or injured as a result of gun violence. Nearly 700 firearms were also seized by police.