City council sees shooting observation technology vital to police work

Birmingham, Ala. (WBRC) – The City of Birmingham has extended a three-year contract with Shot Spotter. This will cost taxpayers about $2.8 million.

Some question whether criminal technology is worth it.

City leaders had hoped the technology would lead to fewer shootings, and therefore fewer murders.

Neither shootings nor murders decreased, but city leaders said police believed the equipment was critical.

City Councilman Hunter Williams emphasized that police see the technology as a valuable tool in their toolbox.

That’s because Shot Spotter devices are placed in areas around cities, which are often the only way police are informed about shootings.

Once at the scene, first responders can provide life-saving care.

Assemblyman Williams hopes the $3 million can be spent elsewhere, but he said neighbors will have to step up to make it happen.

“I hope we don’t have to invest in this technology today and extend this contract for another three years. The unfortunate reality is that our citizens basically don’t call 911 when they hear gunshots, so our police department is asking for this technology. They use it every day to respond to calls and then aggregate the data that they have these hotspots,” Assemblyman Williams said.

Police also use the data to determine where they need to place shot spotter technology and which areas may require additional patrolling to keep you safe.

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