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Denver City Council approves long contract extension with gunshot detection company ShotSpotter

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Posted at 6:17 PM, Jan 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-04 20:20:21-05

The Denver City Council on Monday approved a $4.7 million, five-year contract extension with ShotSpotter Inc., a company that uses audio equipment and analysis in efforts to pinpoint the location of gunfire in select areas of town.

The council’s 10-1 vote to approve the contract came despite opponents bashing the service as overpriced, unreliable and an excuse to over-police areas with a high percentage of people of color in a public hearing Monday night.

Denver Police Department division chief Ron Thomas told the council on Monday that ShotSpotter’s gunshot detection, location and forensic analysis service has been a boost to the department since first being used in the city in 2015. Over the last three years, 2018-2021, 85% of the alerts of possible gunfire the company reported to DPD did not correlate with any 911 calls that might have otherwise alerted officers.

“These are incidents where we otherwise would not have known to respond and recover evidence and attend to victims,” Thomas said.

But advocates of police reform on Monday lined up to criticize the contract, many saying the money would be better spent on mental health services and other programs that prevent crime, not tools that detect it after the fact.

Click here to read the full story from our partners at The Denver Post.