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Salinas Police and community members trying to keep the ShotSpotter program in the city for another year

SALINAS, Calif. (KION) ShotSpotter technology was implemented in Salinas in December of 2016 to help save lives and make the community safer. On Thursday, Council's Police Citizen Advisory Committee held a meeting to approve a recommendation on whether to accept funding for ShotSpotter for an additional year. 

Quick response time is one of the many reasons why people and officers would like to see ShotSpotter stick around for another year. 

“The first hour it was implemented in the city of Salinas there was an arrest with the activations. So since then, it has been invaluable,” Ruban  Sanchez, Representative of the Salinas Police Officers Association and Employee for the City of Salinas as a Homicide Detective. 

Gun violence is nothing new to the Salinas community, especially among the youth. During these incidents, time is of the essence. 

“The benefit above assisting with investigations or collecting of evidence or the precaution aspect of it, is the saving of lives,” said Sanchez. 

ShotSpotter helps Salinas Police respond quickly to apprehend suspects, obtain evidence, talk to witnesses, obtain evidence, and provide aid to gunshot victims. The technology has proven critical for the city.

“In Salinas, more than 88% of gunfire incidences are not reported,” said Regan Davis, SpotShooter Senior Vice President of Customer Success and Field Engineering. 

During Thursday’s meeting, Chief Filice shared with the Council's Police Citizen Advisory Committee that there were 252 ShotSpotter alerts, of that 232 were without a call to 911, and there were 20 corresponding calls for service. Meaning 7.9% of ShotSpotter incidents had a matching call of service. 

The technology acts as an additional tool for officers to solve crimes, which is important with department cutbacks seen in the past few years. 

“I’m without 15 officers is a huge amount for Salinas. I have to use technology to augment what we do, to keep my community safe. I need this technology to keep us safe,” said Salinas Police Chief Filice. 

Community members agreed, and have seen the positive effects of ShotSpotter. 

“If you don’t experience it, you don’t know what it is like. but if you experience it you know you value that technology, because I’ve seen it firsthand where somebody gets shot in my block and you know before I get there the cops are already there,” Victor Cervantes, Salinas Community Member, who attended Thursday’s meeting. 

The Council's Police Citizen Advisory Committee voted unanimously to approve and take this matter to City Council. Next month, Salinas Police Chief Filice will ask for a new contract to be signed to utilize ShotSpotter for another year. That budget has already been set aside. 

Chief Filice encourages people to keep calling 911, even with ShotSpotter in place. 

Read previous story: ShotSpotter and Automated License Plate Reader up for renewal in Salinas

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Erika Bratten

Erika Bratten is a weather forecaster for KION News Channel 5/46.

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