Lee Bank Donates $5K Toward Pittsfield’s ShotSpotter Rollout
February 24, 2017
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Lee Bank has joined in the support for the deployment of a gunshot detection system.
Lee Bank is donating $5,000 toward the ShotSpotter contract. The technology is eyed to be installed this year and is used to detect and pinpoint the sound of gunshot, letting officers know on the spot when a weapon is fired on city streets.
"Pittsfield is important to all of Lee Bank's stakeholders and is crucial to the success and stability of Berkshire County overall," wrote Lee Bank President Chuck Leach in a letter to Mayor Linda Tyer.
"We are pleased to support this program because I strongly believe it will help to improve the quality of life for everyone who lives and works in and around Pittsfield."
The bank is donating $2,500 to the program this February and then another $2,500 next year. Leach delivered the first check to Mayor Linda Tyer on Tuesday. The City Council will be asked to accept the gift on Tuesday night.
The city is looking to contract with the company for three years at a cost of $600,000. The company structured the contract to deploy the technology for 18 months based on the three-year price because that was the amount the city had secured after Berkshire Health Systems donated $300,000.
The plan, however, is to fulfill the three-year contract price and Tyer said she will be seeking private donations and federal grants to raise the needed dollars. Tyer hadn't ruled out spending city funds to close the gap but the preference would be for private gifts and federal grants for now. If the technology works well, the city would consider funding the program in annual budgets moving forward.
The technology is expected to be installed this spring in three square miles of the city. Microphones are set to record when an explosive device is launched, the sound is run through computer software and verified by ShotSpotter staff. Within 45 seconds, the location and type of explosion is relayed directly to police officers on the beat — pinpointing it on a map within 80 feet. ShotSpotter maintains and owns the equipment.
Currently officers are alerted to shots being fired via 911 calls. Often the caller has vague descriptions of the location or the officer has to drive right by the scene to get information from the caller and then circle back. Other times no calls are made at all and police have to start their investigation only after it is reported by the hospital.
ShotSpotter is hoped to get officers to the scene quicker and able to star the investigation quicker. Other cities which have deployed it in the nation have given mixed reviews about the effectiveness.