Home Antioch Antioch City Council Approves 5-Year Contract for ShotSpotter

Antioch City Council Approves 5-Year Contract for ShotSpotter

by ECT

On Tuesday, the Antioch City Council approved a 5-year sole source contract with ShotSpotter in an effort to help the Antioch Police Department identify, locate and track active gunfire within the City of Antioch.

The 5-year, $1.41 million contract was approved in a 4-1 vote with Councilmember Lori Ogorchock dissenting citing she did not believe they should use “salary savings” and instead should use ARPA funding.

Under the approved contract, Southeast Antioch will also have ShotSpotter services

With the 4-1 vote, the city will use anticipated salary savings of the police departments 12 vacant positions to cover the first year of the contract. It will be re-allocated from salaries to contractual services for the agreement.

The item returned for contract award after the October 11 meeting where the council directed staff to identify the most critical areas for ShotSpotter Respond coverage based on data driven analysis of gun-fire related crimes and to create a coverage area.

Staff recommended a four-square mile area which includes a portion of southeast Antioch along Lone Tree Way which included Deer Valley High School and other schools within the Antioch Unified School District.

According to the staff report, ShotSpotter, Inc. is the only vendor who can offer a wide-area gunshot detection and location system with the unique combination of technology, service, and experience available commercially for law enforcement. ShotSpotter, Inc. is the exclusive provider of its ShotSpotter Respond Services, a cloud-based service, which includes warranty, support, repair, and maintenance of the ShotSpotter owned acoustic sensors that will be installed in the coverage area.

ShotSpotter will detect and accurately locate to within 25 meters of the actual gunshot location 90% of unsuppressed, outdoor gunshots fired inside the contracted coverage area using standard, commercially available rounds greater than .25 caliber. ShotSpotter Respond provides alerts to Police and Dispatch in less than 60 seconds to allow Officers to arrive on-scene faster, which can help save lives and keep communities safer.

Mayor Pro Tem Mike Barbanica confirmed with staff should they go with another company, instead of a sole source contract, their new systems at Antioch Police would not “work” with other systems provided by other companies. Staff confirmed.

He then asked ShotSpotter over the claim regarding their system not being able to tell the difference between a gunshot versus slamming doors, fireworks and how it differentiates itself from other company.

The company explained what justified a sole source contract was how they justify a “bang, boom or pop” is in fact gunfire.

“Some of these so-called competitors hear a loud noise and they alert on everything. Glass breaking, backfires, fireworks and so forth. We take great pain and expense to differentiate those noises and only dispatch to police for gunfire,” the company explained. “So how does that happen? Our algorithm filters out most of the noises we here. In 2021, our system deployed across 130 cities at the time, heard over 13 million booms, bangs and pops, the machine classifier filtered out more than half. What was left, wit the likelihood of being gunfire, is then sent to a human for review.”

They continued saying that Shotspotter has a layer of human review before police officers are dispatched. What does the human do, they listen to the audio recording of that noise, of that gunfire activity… they also look at the wave form generation and characteristics and gunfire looks like an inverted Christmas tree. They take in real time considerations from time of day, day of the week, ifs Saturday at two in the morning its probably not industrial noise such as a jackhammer.  They also look at engagement of acoustic sensors such as longitude and latitude. They said human review and technology all occurs within 60-seconds which allows police to respond and quickly gather evidence.

Tamisha Torres-Walker stated even with ShotSpotter, the City of Oakland was up to over 100 gun violence related acts in homicides or injuries. City of Richmond has Shotspotter technology and Richmond no longer has 75 homicides a year, its lower than that but significant enough.

“Richmond has significantly been able to significantly reduce gun violence, but it had little and nothing to do with ShotSpotter technology, it had more to do with community violence prevention strategies, getting resources to communities in need and targeted individuals who could be at risk of being a victim of gun violence or perpetrator as well as increased robust community policing strategy to build trust with the community,” said Torres-Walker. “All of these communities have had ShotSpotter technology and that technology didn’t reduce gun violence.”

Torres-Walker then questioned if ShotSpotter was supposed to deter violence, increase police response times or meant to possibly increase police response time and deter gun violence—saying they having seen a deterred gun violence.

Chief Steve Ford stated, “Its fair to say ShotSpotter is not a panacea. What really changes gun violence is changing social norms and programming. ShotSpotter is not a panacea, let’s be clear.”

He cited his personal experience from 32-years in San Francisco where they had 200 homicides in one year with 90% of murders taking place in his district.

“It is not a panacea, but what it is, a great tool to identify gun violence, it does help response times, it does help us identity and investigate crime scenes and investigate through that lens,” said Ford. “Its not the end-all-be-all, no technology is, and if we are really talking about changing violence in communities we have to change the social norms.”

He also stated Antioch has a “significant level of gun-play” and has a lot of guns in the city and stated he was shocked in a city of 115,000 people he was shocked at the level of gun activity, shocked at the number of guns they have confiscated this year (150) and over 200 guns last year.

“I think at this juncture, I think its very clear Antioch needs all the tools and resources it can acquire and at its disposal to address these issues,” said Ford who added with their new community programs and initiatives will help combined with ShotSpotter.

He told the council to not get hung up on the money and look at it as an investment and not an expense.

“I think its critically important not to get hung up on the money. Public safety costs money. Public safety to keep communities safe, to mitigate gun violence costs money,” said Ford. “So we, collectively and I put myself in the we conversation, if we are on the delusion that we are going to keep this community safe for free, we are sadly mistaken.”

He explained this was an investment in keeping the community safe, the schools safe, children safe.

“There is no price on keeping people safe,” said Force. “Let’s not get hung up on the million dollars. A million dollars in the scheme of things is pennies is we are talking about saving lives. If that is the goal, if that is really the goal, if we are serious about keeping this city safe, lets get over the expense of a million dollars. Let’s move forward and get it done.”

Torres-Walker said the chief answered her questions on increasing response times and help with investigations, target areas who need resources and not policing services while noting its not a deterrent, just an identification.

She called it not a large expense when one does the math from the time an individual is shot, look at the early response, medical bills, costs to community, cost to family, by the time the buried to the investigation, individual arrested, brought to justice, it could cost millions.

“That is just one homicide,” said Torres-Walker. “Imagine several homicides, its in the millions so we know the cost of violence is higher than the cost to prevent violence.”

Councilmember Monica Wilson declined to offer any commentary.

Mayor Lamar Thorpe called this exciting and was in support.

“One thing that became clear and apparent to me is the City of Antioch, historically, has not been able to meet its authorized number of officers. We have not been able to hire that amount. Whatever the amount is, we have never gotten to a point where we have hired all of them,” stated Thorpe. “Its been challenging over the years, ignore the up-side-down world of the blogs and individuals for our hiring challenges, they have been over decades we have had challenges in hiring officers in this city.”

Thorpe said they had to use technology as a way to combat the lack of being able to hire police officers to help in aid in the efforts with the work police officers were doing. He also highlighted the city was working on other community resources to assist communities in need in regards to public safety.

“I think this is another step forward,” said Thorpe.

Vice Mayor Mike Barbanica then made the motion to enter a 5-year contract with ShotSpotter with a one-time $10k startup fee and go with Option B not to exceed $1.4 million utilizing general fund monies.

Councilmember Lori Ogorchock offered an amendment asking that they use ARPA

Mayor Thorpe then offered a substitute motion using “salary savings” for the first year of the agreement.

“I am not for using the ARPA funds, it can come out of the salary savings,” said Thorpe.

Ogorchock then explained why she was voting against the motion.

“It’s not that I am voting against this, I want people to know I am not voting against ShotSpotter, I am voting against the funding source,” said Ogorchock. “I don’t want anyone coming back later saying I voted against this.”

Barbanica asked about how much salary savings the Antioch Police Department has had over the past 12-months and asked by using these funds if it would place a hardship on the department.

Chief Ford said it was approximately $1 million per year given the 12-openings and at $210k for year one would not.

The council then voted 4-1 on the substitute motion with Ogorchock dissenting.


Note:

City of Antioch 2022 Crime Statistics

INDEX CRIMESJANFEBMARAPRMAYJUNJULAUGSEPOCTNOVDEC2022 TOTALS
Homicide22000011118
Rape624842616241
Robbery131412691111132217128
Agg. Assault36334548346448465244450
Burglary33212425202337424563333
Larceny -Theft106101901211181191181591401001172
Vehicle – Theft42514050605362605357528
Arson332230010216
Index Crime Totals2412272172602482722833233192862647

Known 2022 Shootings

You may also like

1 comment

Simonpure Nov 16, 2022 - 12:25 pm

Can Walker be any more negative. Such a Debbie downer.

Reply

Leave a Comment