‘We can’t be asked to cut a blind check’: Fresno City Council at odds over the future of ShotSpotter

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FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – The Fresno Police Department’s ShotSpotter listens out for gunfire to help officers respond to shootings quicker – and during Thursday’s city council meeting, council members addressed an agenda item to provide over $2 million in funding for ShotSpotter over the next three years.

However, Councilmember Miguel Arias wanted more information before approving the funds.

“We can’t be asked to cut a blind check if we don’t know what the goals and the performance metrics are of any technology, any contract, or any investment that we make,” Arias said.

Mayor Jerry Dyer’s 2022 budget does include funding for the ShotSpotter system, but Councilmember Arias says he wants to see more data on the ShotSpotter’s effectiveness as well as the funding in the mayor’s budget before any additional funding is approved. Councilmember Mike Karbassi wants the ShotSpotter coverage to expand to his district.

“I want to give instruction today to increase this contract and go back and negotiate to have ShotSpotter coverage at Bullard High School,” Karbassi said.

Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama, who was at the council meeting virtually during this session, feels all of Fresno should benefit. 

“I would like to expand the program,” Balderrama said. “I think we should have it city-wide.” 

Although nothing was decided Thursday, the council agreed to be presented with the data of the effectiveness of the ShotSpotter before determining future funding for the system. Council President Luis Chavez says any future decision on the system should be data-driven.

“I would just recommend that they allow our police department to really look at the data, the shootings that have occurred, and let that data determine where those are located.”

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July 23 2021 05:30 pm

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