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Council appears to support gunfire alert system

November 02, 2016

The Greenwood City Council appears supportive of a proposed gunfire alert system proposed by Mayor Carolyn McAdams.

ShotSpotter,” developed by SST Inc. of Newark, California, uses audio sensors to detect and pinpoint gunfire within as little as 30 seconds, McAdams said.

She began last week pushing the idea in response to a rash of gunfire, including several homicides, in the city this year. Police Chief Ray Moore has said the system would help lawmen more quickly respond to reports of gunfire.

During Tuesday’s council meeting, most of the discussion revolved around how the city might fit the cost — projected at $225,000 for the first year, then ranging from $90,000 to $165,000 annually thereafter — into its budget.

“If this is something that is going to detect, deter and prevent — stop what we have occurring in Greenwood, Mississippi, I don’t think we have much of a choice,” McAdams said.

“I’m in agreement,” replied Ward 6’s David Jordan.

Council President Ronnie Stevenson said the city may have to find funds for the program. “We may have to borrow it,” he said.

McAdams said the city has almost $3.3 million in reserves into which it could tap.

Ward 1’s Johnny Jennings said he recently found four spent bullets on the roof of a 5,000?square? foot building that he owns downtown.

“If four of them fell on my roof in 4 and a half years, they’re falling everywhere,” he said.

If a falling bullet were to kill someone, tourists would begin “driving around Greenwood,” he said.

If the city adopts ShotSpotter, it would be the first municipality in Mississippi to do so. According to the company, ShotSpotter systems are currently in use in 90 locations globally, mostly in major U.S. cities — New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Miami and the like. The system is located in two Alabama and two Louisiana cities.

A representative from SST will make a presentation before the council at its Nov. 15 meeting.

In other business, the council heard from Anjavette Payton of the North Central Planning and Development District regarding its Out?of?School Youth Program.

The program is open to youths between the ages of 16 and 24.

“We’re still in the recruitment phase for our program. We’re currently needing applications from participants who are eligible for this program,” Payton said.

The program, headquartered in the Baptist Town Community Center, is open to high school graduates or those with GED certificates.

The program matches youth with jobs. It also provides workforce readiness training, Payton said.

She said only five of the 18 slots available have been filled.

Stevenson noted that the Community Center was recently broken into and all of the computers used in the program were stolen.

“It saddens me that she has her office in Baptist Town, computers and all this, and of course someone broke in. That saddens me,” he said.

The council approved:

    A contract with Willis Engineering Inc. for preliminary engineering services for the Fulton Street Streetscape Improvement Project. The city is providing $150,000 while the Mississippi Department of Transportation is supplying the remaining $600,000.
    A $5,000 donation to the Greenwood Ministerial Association’s Benevolent Fund.

Greenwood Mississippi