Council fails working class
Wednesday, November 7, 2018
Once again, the Greenville City Council has failed to adequately question a Greenville Police Department funding request, thereby spending taxpayer money irresponsibly. In the Oct. 18 edition of The Daily Reflector, it was reported that the Greenville City Council unanimously approved a three-year, $615,000 contract for a gunshot surveillance system called “Shot-Spotters.”
Phil Dailly, Shot-Spotters’ southeast regional director, explained how their “triangulation” system locates where gunshots have been fired. He claimed the “auto-sensor” technology has the ability to place law enforcement officers within 82 feet of where the shot(s) were fired. Chief Mark Holtzman stated that this technology can “drive down” what he claims has been an increase in calls claiming “shots fired.”
The City Council members’ questions regarding this technology mentioned in the article revealed they had not thoroughly researched this expensive proposal they voted for. When Mr. Dailly was asked why the City of Charlotte discontinued the program, he failed to mention that most of the alerts were from residents.
Gunshots are not the only percussive “bang” the microphone picks up. In fact, cities that have discontinued the program, such as San Antonio, Texas, have said the system is known to pick up the sounds of cars backfiring or even a whirring helicopter. The San Antonio police chief’s assistant, Joe Picazo, stated officers found no evidence of shooting about 80 percent of the time. He also revealed that officers found no gunshot victims at any of the “Shot-Spotter-only” incidents.
This kind of reckless spending shows that the City Council does not have the interest of working-class people, especially those of color, at heart. This money could have been used to help build quality, affordable housing, further train police officers in how to deal with people with mental illness, or even establish a truly independent Civilian Police Review Board.