BRADENTON -- Mayor Wayne Poston and the Bradenton City Council gathered Wednesday afternoon in City Hall for a presentation on technology that can trace gunfire sources.
The ShotSpotter service is on the Bradenton Police Department wishlist with backing from the Bradenton Housing Authority. Bradenton Police Chief Michael Radzilowski also attended the presentation.
Phil Dailly, Southeast Region director for Mountain View, Calif.-based SST, is a former Baltimore police sergeant. He provided context on the issue of gun violence and associated costs.
Dailly's presentation included a 2006 study out of Palm Beach that pegged the medical cost at $56,000 for the initial hospital visit for a single gunshot victim.
Dailly said the intelligence service uses sensors atop buildings to pinpoint gunfire. He said ShotSpotter can notify law enforcement offi
cials of a location within 30 seconds after gunfire and is typically accurate within 30 feet.
"And that's a difference of responding to an area where you may have 200 to 300 houses to canvas versus one or two addresses," said Dailly. "In the event that a victim is bleeding, those seconds that are shaved in that response can mean the difference between life and death. ShotSpotter is the only solution that can accurately alert you to the exact when, where and what of gunfire activity."
The ShotSpotter technology costs about $270,000 to install and $180,000 to maintain annually.
Council members and public attendees asked many questions, including exactly where the sensors would be placed in the city.
Ward 4 Councilman Bemis Smith brought up the subject of celebratory gunfire, which he said is widespread in his neighborhood during holidays.
"How are we going to improve our manpower?" Smith asked. "Let's say we get this, and we can go all over the city, and on Fourth of July we can tell you everywhere they're shooting -- but how are we going to have the manpower to actually go and do anything about it?"
Ward 5 Councilman Harold Byrd Jr. said he first heard about ShotSpotter a few years ago from a friend from Minnesota.
"It seems like a perfect fit," he said. "If we could just find the dollars for it."
Byrd Jr., who lives in East Bradenton, said he feels positive about the service.
"When you look at the costs ... you've got kids getting killed out there," the councilman said. "As a community, I think we'll find a way."
Amaris Castillo, law enforcement/island reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7051. You can follow her on Twitter @AmarisCastillo.