Suffolk DA calls for return of funding for ShotSpotter


News 12 Staff

Jun 16, 2022, 10:13 PM

Updated 667 days ago


Suffolk District Attorney Ray Tierney is hoping to give the county's ShotSpotter gunfire detection program a second chance at stopping gun violence.
Suffolk County had pulled funding for the technology in 2019 after questions about its effectiveness, but Tierney gave remarks Thursday calling for money to fund the program.
The Suffolk district attorney says there was an increase in shootings in every year since funding was pulled. He says as a prosecutor in Brooklyn, there were signs indicating it works.
The ShotSpotter program has cameras that detect the sound of gunshots, record the area and can now send an alert and location to an app that can go directly to officers.
There are some calls against bringing the program back because they would be installed in certain communities that are predominately people of color.
Rachel Hu, of the Party for Socialism and Liberation Long Island, says it has already been proven that the increase in the technologies and increase of surveillance of Black and brown communities does not reduce crime.
She says the money could be better utilized elsewhere.
"We need to invest in our community, invest in programs that we know work," Hu says. "Violence interrupter programs work."
The community the cameras would be installed in include North Amityville, Wyandanch, Brentwood, Bay Shore, Central Islip, North Bellport, Coram and Mastic/Shirley.
Tierney says that radius accounts for 50% of the shootings in Suffolk County.
"There are families that live there, children who go to school there and we're interested in keeping those individuals safe," Tierney says.
Some students say they support an increased effort to combat gun crimes.
"If anything, this is just a step forward in public safety," says Eloy Mendez-Vargas, of Brentwood High School.
It would cost an estimated $1.3 million to $1.8 million.
If funding is approved by the legislature, it would take around a month to get cameras installed.

More from News 12