The Flint Police Department working to integrate ShotSpotter technology into city surveillance cameras, which the police chief says would be free for a year under the department’s current camera contract.
The police department is in the research phase with this gunfire detection system technology meant to improve police response times to shots-fired calls, Flint Police Chief Terence Green told MLive-The Flint Journal.
“We’re going to have an initial testing phase in a portion of the city of Flint and see if it’s valuable to us,” Green said. “We think it will be. The company we’re using, it’s a company we’ve already procured cameras from them. This ShotSpotter technology we integrate with the cameras we already have in the city. This first year is free to us because we’re already a customer.”
While the department is exploring the technology, Green there is not a definitive date for when it would b installed.
Green declined to comment on the company the department contracts with or the number of cameras posted in the city.
Councilwoman Jerrif Winfrey Carter had pushed for additional funding for ShotSpotter technology in the city’s current fiscal budget, but city council ultimately garner the votes to adopt the additional funding.
Related: Flint City Council accepts budget on third attempt after weekslong stalemate
Council’s proposed amendments to that budget were numerous and varied before the budget was passed in the third attempt by the council.
Proposed amendments included more than $3 million to address blight in the city; $4.2 million for additional surveillance cameras, additional funds for the Police Department Detective Bureau, and Shotspotter Gunfire Location Service and $5,000 payments to essential city employees who worked during the coronavirus pandemic.
Three amendments requested by the council were added to the spending plan before it was approved on June 14. The amendments add $60,000 to the city Clerk’s Office, $20,000 to Hasselbring Senior Center, and $20,000 to the Brennan Community Senior Center.
Green said he wants to explore the installation of ShotSpotter technology in the city through the no-cost timeframe.
Once the technology has been tested, the police department will have information to support whether or not it aids in fighting crime in the city and can present that to council for years to come, he said.
“I’ve had conversations with the city of Detroit and other agencies that have used a ShotSpotter,” Green said. “They’ve had success with it and I think will all the gunshots and drive-bys I think it might be something worth investing in. We’re going to do everything we can to combat this violent crime. We’re going to hit these drive-by shooters, these individuals involved in gun violence, we’re going to hit them with everything we have so the more technology that will help us do our job, help the men and women do their job, we’re going to invest in it.”
Related: Flint still without ShotSpotter as Detroit kicks off pilot gunfire detection system
Flint appeared on its way to having a SpotShotter program in 2011 with former Mayor Dayne Walling saying the program was being brought to the city through partnerships and at no cost to the city’s taxpayers. However, the funding to start the program in 2012 fell through, officials later said.
This year, the city of Flint has seen a surge in violent crime and homicides.
As of Sunday, Aug. 29, there had been 48 homicides in Flint this year, according to the police department’s most recent crime data. Since then, there have been two homicides in the city.
There had been a total of 34 homicides as of Aug. 29 in 2020, per the department’s crime data.
The year’s homicide figures include one case of involuntary manslaughter, one case of negligent homicide involving a vehicle, boat, or snowmobile, and two cases of justifiable homicide.
Green said the police department is working hard to combat the rise in crime but needs residents to speak out if they know anything about crimes committed in the city
Anyone with information on a crime is asked to contact the Flint Police Department at 810-237-6800 or, to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers of Flint and Genesee County at 1-800-422-JAIL (5245), on the P3Tips mobile app, or online at CrimeStoppersofFlint.com.
Read more on MLive:
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Man shot, killed in Flint marks city’s 50th homicide of the year
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Flint City Council tries for 9 hours but can’t agree on budget