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Detroit again delays the vote on $7 million ShotSpotter contract

Josh Garcia

Detroiters still don’t know if the city will expand gunshot detection technology through other neighborhoods.

Detroit City Council has once again delayed voting on the controversial $7 million contract that would expand a gunshot-detection technology throughout the city.

Shotspotter is a gunshot-detection technology that uses sensors to try to determine when a gun is fired.

City officials say the Shotspotter technology will no longer be funded with American Rescue Plan Act funding, but it'll come from the general Detroit Police Department fund.

Still, a majority of City Council says it needs more time to decide on whether or not to vote in favor of the technology.

For the second week in a row, Councilmembers Gabriela Santiago-Romero, Angela Whitfield Calloway and Mary Waters all voted against postponing the vote for another week.

They've all said they'll vote "no" once the council actually decides on the contract.

"I did not hear an overwhelming amount of people asking us to fund an overpriced microphone that will be used as an investigative tool. I know that the City Council deciding to support Shotspotter is our desperate attempt to address crime but I’m not desperate enough to offer false solutions," Santiago-Romero said.

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of people have joined Council in person or called in to comment on the contract. The majority have been against expanding the technology.

"Aside from the switching of funding, it’s important for me to understand the overall kind-of comprehensive plan regarding how we support community-based organizations that are doing the work," Council President Mary Sheffeild said as part of the reason why she supported delaying the vote.

Last week, Council voted to renew an existing contract with Shotspotter in the two existing areas where it is already in place.

Some public commenters requested that council reconsider the vote from last week but Pro Tem James Tate said the reconsideration period has closed.

The Detroit City Council delayed the vote until October 11.

Eli Newman is a Reporter/Producer for 101.9 WDET, covering breaking news, politics and community affairs. Newman is an award-winning radio journalist and was named the Michigan Associated Press Media Editors Broadcast Rising Star in 2017. His work has appeared on NPR, Marketplace and the Detroit Free Press among others. Newman joined WDET as a newsroom intern in 2014 and is a graduate of the University of Michigan, where he first worked in radio at the student-run station WCBN.