ShotSpotter program stripped from proposed city budget

Money proposed for more officers

By Deven Clarke - Video Journalist

San Antonio - A program intended to help police officers identify where a shooting happens, get there quicker and ultimately cut down on crime has been stripped from the proposed city budget because city leaders said it's not effective.

It cost the city $270,000 to put ShotSpotters on the city's crime-ridden east and west sides, but police Chief William McManus said the program's results don't match up with its hefty price tag.

"The measure of success for the police department would be arrests and case closures, and we have not seen it at all. We've gotten four arrests," McManus said.

The ShotSpotter devices, which are supposed to direct police officers to gunshots, were added in April 2016. This year, city leaders want to budget for more boots on the ground.

"Covert those dollars to SAFFE (San Antonio Fear Free Environment) officers in the community," said Sheryl Scully, San Antonio city manager.

District 2 Councilman William "Cruz" Shaw is on board with the move.

"They know who are committing the crimes, just through social engagement with the neighbors, so it's different than just receiving phone calls and going to the scene for a crime," Shaw said.

People who live in District 2 said reducing violent crime is going to take more than just adding more officers to the beat.

"It's not the fact of adding more police to help. It's the process after that because they can arrest them, and if they sit too long, they'll be right on the street, killing some more," said Sharrell Kemp, District 2 resident.

Shaw said he agrees with his constituents, but he said he hopes adding more officers is a good start.

"It's more of an organic way of attacking crime in our communities," he said.

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