Mayor Wheeler says city won’t pursue gunshot detection technology for now

ShotSpotter is a sensor set up in various spots in the city to alert police of gunfire.
ShotSpotter is a sensor set up in various spots in the city to alert police of gunfire.(KPTV)
Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 12:25 PM PDT
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - Mayor Ted Wheeler announced Thursday that he will not go forward with recommending gunshot detection technology to City Council.

Wheeler made the announcement after community feedback and talks with Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell and other city leaders. He says this may be revisited in the future but they’re scrapping plans as of now.

“We have decided that this is not the time to implement a gunshot detection pilot in Portland. Therefore I will not proceed with bringing a proposal to City Council,” Wheeler said. “Believe me when I say that this decision was difficult, but in the end, the chief and I believe that this technology could be revisited once we’ve realized the benefits of strong recruitment and staffing efforts underway at PPB.”

Gunshot detection technology, like ShotSpotter, uses sensors placed across an area to listen for gunshots and alert police. The technology has faced controversy.

Some say it’s not effective, while others worry it could lead to more confrontation between police and community. There are also privacy concerns.

FOX 12′s Connor McCarthy will have much more on what the city plans to do to curb gun violence in the city on the 4 O’Clock News.

On Friday, a spokesperson for the company formerly known as ShotSpotter, now called SoundThinking, sent FOX 12 the following statement by CEO Ralph Clark:

“While we are disappointed that Portland is no longer moving forward with the RFP process, we understand how important it is to have the requisite resources and comprehensive strategy in place to effectively leverage any technology tool, including ShotSpotter. We are grateful for having been given the opportunity to engage with the Portland community. We stand ready to support the city when it is ready to re-assess the benefits of gunshot detection to quickly and precisely identify specific incident locations to render assistance and save lives.”