The Greensboro Police Department needs some assistance from the City Council.
However, according to comments made by Police Chief Brian James, one thing they aren’t asking for is a “shots fired system.”
City Councilmember Sharon Hightower and Mayor Nancy Vaughan appear to be pushing this technology, which is a computerized system that will inform the police of the exact location of shots fired in a certain area.
At the Dec. 7, 2020 work session on violent crime, Vaughan brought up the fact that Durham had just instigated a shots fired system and Hightower brought up shots fired again at the March 23 work session on the Greensboro Police Department Strategic Plan.
At both the City Council work session on Dec. 7, 2020 and the work session on March 23, James explained that this would not be the best use of city funds because the coverage area for each system is so small that to cover enough territory to make it worthwhile would be expensive.
James said, “It’s a good program but it’s very expensive. It’s right around $100,000 for shots fired, but it only covers about a quarter-mile radius.”
James said that for the same cost he could put a police officer in the area to sit in his car and listen for shots.
James said, “A license plate reader is a much cheaper option.” He explained that people firing shots are typically mobile and license plate readers at key access points in the community would serve much the same purpose and be far less expensive.
Hightower said that her concern about a license plate reader is that “the minority population would be targeted. Blacks tend to be stopped more than others. What happens when they are stopped?”
Hightower said, “Put shots fired in all five districts and there could be more shots fired across town than there are here.”