The Seattle Times reports that Mayor McGinn’s 2013-14 budget will include $1 million annually for ten additional police officers and $950,000 for 52 gunshot locators. He will unveil the details of his budget next week.
The city wants to install up to 52 mobile gunshot locator units, with each having a minimum 600-foot radius range and the ability to pinpoint a gunshot to within a 50-foot radius. The units also can stream video and determine the caliber of weapon that was fired with a 90 percent accuracy rate.
Hiring 10 new officers would bring the department’s total to 1,310.
East Precinct Captain Ron Wilson previously told the EastPAC group that he plans on requesting as many officers as possible if the city were to hire more officers. However, other Precinct Captains would likely do the same.
The gunshot locators are essentially microphones that help the police better track the location and frequency of shots fired incidents, which often go unreported. They may also help police know when reports are actually fireworks or a backfiring car engine. Today, they can’t confirm the shots unless they can locate evidence, such as shell casings or, of course, victims. Similar systems are used by many cities, including Washington DC and LA (the Wikipedia entry on the systems is worth a read for more information).
Neither hiring more officers nor a gunshot locator system came up at this week’s discussion about violence in the CD, which focused more on programming and neighbors getting to know each other better.