Friday, May 4, 2012

ShotSpotter is coming to Kansas City

I was pleased this morning to join Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, Mayor Sly James, and several others at the Metro Center at 39th and Troost to announce the partnership that will bring ShotSpotter to Kansas City. This technology is “a gunfire alert and analysis solution” that uses several acoustic sensors that activate instantly when gunfire occurs. “The sensors and software triangulate and pinpoint the precise location of each round fired within seconds.”

ShotSpotter has the power to get officers to shooters and victims very quickly. I’ve done the research, and it’s a great crime-fighting tool. Even before I was chief, it was something I wished the Kansas City Police Department could have, but we never could identify a funding source for it. Rep. Cleaver made it happen. He saw how effective it was in Washington, D.C., and put forth a lot of effort getting it to Kansas City.

He worked with the KCATA (Kansas City Area Transportation Authority) to reprogram federal grant dollars left over when their Troost Max project came in under budget to a public safety project that will benefit everyone. KCATA Executive Director Mark Huffer said today this is the first police-transit ShotSpotter partnership in the nation.

Because criminals don’t tell us where they’re going to be, we’re not going to announce exactly where ShotSpotter will be. But it will be in high-crime neighborhoods and/or near urban core transit routes. The police department is seeking more funding possibilities to expand the system.

Sixty-six other cities use ShotSpotter with great success, and I’m confident Kansas City will have success, too. As Rep. Cleaver said this morning, “This is a rather bold attempt to silence the violence.”

It is just one piece of a larger effort to stop violence. We’re deploying more police to hard-hit areas and continue to build trust with residents. We also implore the community to not tolerate criminal behavior in their neighborhoods.

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