PUEBLO, Colo. (KRDO) - The Pueblo City Council approved funding for a new gunfire detection system to help the city's police department curb gun related crimes.
The City Council voted 7-0 in favor of the roughly $152,000 funding for the "ShotSpotter" technology, following a 12 minute discussion with Pueblo Police Chief Chris Noeller, consisting of a mix of questions and explanations about the service, and the Chief's beliefs that it will help the department.
"I'm confident that we're going to see positive results from this system. I wouldn't ask you to spend the money or authorize the spending of the money if I didn't think it was going to be helpful." explained Noeller.
The censors for the gunfire-locating technology will be installed by the company Sound Thinking. Noeller says they intend to have them put in a hotspot area on the east side of Pueblo covering a two square mile radius, and another covering a portion of the south side of the city for one square mile.
"Statistically, the calls that we get from ShotSpotter come in a 5 minutes before they do from our citizens. So it gives us that five extra minutes to get down there, possibly find somebody leaving the area, find the evidence sooner. " said Noeller.
The "ShotSpotter" is just another addition to the City of Pueblo's Real Time Crime Center (RTCC) which aims to be be in full operation by June of 2024. Noeller added that since they've gotten approval for the funding, the Shot Spotter will now likely take two to three months before its live and in use by police.
One resident spoke during the public comment period in the beginning of the meeting to list out reasons he didn't believe it was a valuable use of funds for the police department. He cited one 2021 study released by a Chicago city official, which concluded that the use of the "ShotSpotter" tech, 'rarely produced evidence of gun related crime, rarely gave rise to investigatory stops, and even less frequently lead to the recovery of gun crime related evidence, during an investigatory stop.'"
He also added that the City of Colorado Springs implemented a similar gunshot detection system, that he claims is no longer in use now.
Later in the council meeting, Noeller countered the residents claim about the Chicago police study, saying:
"Chicago Police Department has not only continued their program for ShotSpotter, they've expanded it. And the superintendent from Chicago, former superintendent, I don't remember when he retired, but he credited ShotSpotter with 125 lives saved in the five years preceding his statement, and [the] recovery of almost 3,000 firearms, 2,400 pieces of evidence." said Noeller. "A survey conducted by the Police Institute said that 72 to 74% of the citizens in Chicago support the use of this system." added the Chief.
A city council member also proposed questions about the effectiveness of the service in lowering crime rates, however clarified they were only asking those questions for the sake of the city residents, so they can understand that the technology is not a be-all-end-all solution.
Chief Noeller agreed, and stated that the system will serve as just another tool in their belt, to help narrow down gun related crimes and instances of shots being fired. He added that knowing the location of gunfire can save valuable time, instead of having to track information down from witnesses.