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ShotSpotter supporters aim to keep technology in Chicago

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(The Center Square) – Several Chicago aldermen are moving to keep gunshot-detection technology in place.

Mayor Brandon Johnson canceled the city’s contract with ShotSpotter earlier this year, but then extended the deal through September.

Alderman David Moore said the city council, not the mayor, should decide whether to keep the technology.

“If we take away ShotSpotter, which alerts officers to pinpoint areas of gunshots, what’s gonna take its place?” Moore asked.

Alderman Chris Taliaferro said the technology is not perfect, but it works.

“My residents see the importance of being able to get to an emergency call where there’s been shots fired as quickly as possible, because there is the potential of saving lives,” Taliaferro said.

Moore and Taliaferro are members of a group of aldermen who support a mandate to continue the ShotSpotter contract.

Former Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson also pushed to keep ShotSpotter technology. Johnson led the city’s police department from 2016 to 2019 and worked under Mayors Rahm Emanuel and Lori Lightfoot.

ShotSpotter is not only helpful in responding to shootings, but it is also helpful with data collection, Johnson said. He said ShotSpotter is important, especially in areas where people might not call 911 to report gunfire.

“If we don’t have ShotSpotter to fill the void, then the data capturing will start to go down because gunshots being fired in neighborhoods will be unreported. And because of that, we’ll mistakenly think gunshots are decreasing when, in fact, they might be increasing,” Johnson said.

Current Chicago Police Superintendent Larry Snelling has also discussed the benefits of ShotSpotter technology.