Pasadena grants police the ability to eavesdrop on gunfire with new technology – Pasadena Star News


An increase in gun violence on the streets of Pasadena has sparked a new contract between city council and ShotSpotter, an algorithm-based police technology soon to be deployed in northwestern neighborhoods of Pasadena.

City council authorized a three-year, $ 640,000 subscription to ShotSpotter on Monday, Oct. 4, with a 7-1 vote, despite outcry from community members who cited the case. Michael williams and others whose case was dismissed due to serious flaws in using ShotSpotter as evidence for prosecutors, according to an investigation by the Associated Press.

City Councilor John Kennedy agreed with residents’ frustrations who alleged the system could misclassify the sounds of fireworks or turning cars and lead to false claims that an accused fired at police .

Kennedy also recognized the need to address violence and the use of guns in the community. “But I’m still not convinced that ShotSpotter is the right technology,” he said.

Lt. Bill Grisafe, who introduced the technology last Monday before the board’s discussion was tabled, admitted that Pasadena Police Department officers sometimes struggle to determine which area of ​​town a shooting took place in. . ShotSpotter representatives say their system is around 90% accurate, which means residents would see better response times and experience a better sense of security in the city.

Grisafe added that responding to a ShotSpotter alert would be no different than responding to a call to 911 for gunfire. And because ShotSpotter offered to cover three square miles of Pasadena which is most affected by gun violence, Mermell noted that he did not view the measure as excessive surveillance.

It is simply a technological tool that will allow the police to respond, “and I hope this will also facilitate their investigation,” he said.

Residents who phoned during the public comment period wondered why the program would not be implemented across the city, especially because ACLU officials wrote a letter stressing their belief that the Acoustic Detection System for gunfire will increase the police footprint in Pasadena’s black and Latin communities. and lead to further searches, contacts, detentions, seizures and arrests.

City leaders recognized a need throughout Pasadena to respond to violent crime, but said they believed the program should be launched in the worst-affected area. gun-related incidents in the city over the past two years.

The Pasadena community shouldn’t have to put up with gun violence, Mermell said, “so I think if this tool can help, it’s worth a try.”

An option to terminate the contract with ShotSpotter Inc., coupled with the potential benefits, prompted a majority of council to approve the article shortly after City Councilor Tyron Hampton offered to adopt the contract.

City leaders are expected to review ShotSpotter’s effects on the city in a year from now.


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