GR may put ShotSpotter on back burner

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD ) — It appears the City of Grand Rapids will not be using a one half million dollar grant to install gunshot detection equipment in high crime neighborhoods.

Last week, city commissioners debated in the purchase of ShotSpotter, technology that uses a series of microphones to detect gunshots in a defined area.

The system is designed to give police a quicker response times to possible gunfire in a neighborhood.

Grand Rapids has experienced a record number 32 homicides so far this year.

A $500,000 Cares Act Grant for crime reduction was made available through Kent County. Originally, the Kent County Board of Commissioners had suggested, even required in the minds of some at city hall, that the grant be used for the ShotSpotter system.

But a number of Grand Rapids City Commissioners balked at the idea, questioning the value of Shotspotter over other crime reduction methods. A number of community groups have expressed the same sentiment.

After talks with the county, the city now says those funds can be used for those other reduction programs.

But it does not appear ShotSpotter is off the table. The city will consider using other funds to install the system, once more evaluations, including community meetings to get public input on the system are held.

“The Police Department will take a neighborhood approach consistent with (the) neighborhood-policing model in their strategic plan and have further dialogue with neighborhoods that might be interested in gun detection technology through neighborhood meetings, citizen comments, correspondence, and town hall meetings led by Chief (Eric) Payne” reads the memo to City Commissioners ahead of Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting.

City Commissioners will outline specific uses for the Cares Act grant during their December 1st meeting.

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