The plan was to improve response times to shots fired in the city of Nashville, to help recover evidence such as shell casings or guns, interview witnesses, and ensure timely medical attention for any gunshot victims. That’s what the ‘ShotSpotter’ technology does in over 100 cities across the nation, and it was introduced by Megan Barry in February of 2018 for implementation in Nashville, and the funding was approved by the City Council. Mayor David Briley has now shot down that plan, and pulled out of the agreement to implement the technology.
Per the plan, sensors would have been initially installed in the Cayce, Napier/Sudekum, and Buena Vista Heights/Elizabeth Park neighborhoods, which have the highest reports of illegal gunfire, as part of the trial program. That won’t happen now, according to the Mayor’s press secretary Thomas Mulgrew.
According to the Mayor’s office, after meeting with representatives of ShotSpotter over the past several months, and discussing the cost and benefits with MNPD and the ECC, it was determined that if the city was going to spend upwards of $300,000 on technology, there needed to be more conversations with the community about the decision. According to meeting notices, the technology was already presented to citizens in February of 2018 in a series of three community meetings.
The city council allocated $200,000 from the 4% fund in February for the pilot program, however the Mayor’s office says that the more recent quote came in for more than was allocated, and in addition, the proposed contract extended the agreement for 2-3 years, instead of just one year. Recently, the Mayor’s office told representatives from ShotSpotter that the city would not be moving forward at this time.
Metro Nashville Police Department now says their limited man-power and resources could be better used in other ways, according to the Mayor’s office. In February, Police Chief Steve Anderson said “I expect that ShotSpotter technology will complement our proactive strategies, which include adding extra-duty officers into the areas to both deter crime and strengthen relationships with neighbors.”
The ShotSpotter system is a series of audio sensors installed on top of light posts and buildings throughout specific areas. When a gun is fired, the sensors triangulate the sound of the gunshot and pinpoint the location of the shots, as well as recording the number of shots fired. ShotSpotter-trained acoustic experts review and classify all gunfire incidents and alert law enforcement within a minute — and usually within 30 seconds — of the gunshot occurring. ShotSpotter delivers real-time data to dispatch centers, patrol cars, and even smartphones, alerting police officers of gunshot crimes in progress. This precise information allows officers and first responders to make more informed decisions and provide a better and faster emergency response.