Heated debate over potential use of ShotSpotter technology in Durham :: WRAL.com

A heated debate at the Durham City Council budget meeting led to tears, even personal insults. The source of the controversy — a gunshot detection technology called ShotSpotter.

WRAL News has been covering stories about the possibility of ShotSpotter coming to Durham since at least 2019.

What’s different now is that ShotSpotter finally has enough support from Council that it is almost certainly on the way.

ShotSpotter is used around the country — with mixed reviews. Some claim the technology helped police seize guns and make arrests. Others say it is ineffective and leads to unnecessary encounters with police.

That divisiveness clear on the Durham City Council as well, where emotions ran high during the debate.

The technology has support from the majority of Council, meaning the roughly $198,000 it needs to get off the ground will likely be granted.

The meeting was emotional, as Councilman Leo Williams spoke about a former student of his who was killed by gunfire.

“His name was Reginald,” he said, fighting back tears.

And at times — it was tense.

Police Chief Andrews told WRAL News after the meeting, “I don’t know enough about ShotSpotter. I would say this: We have to do something.”

Andrews promised to share data and be transparent about how it’s going and says she is listening to criticism — and will take it to heart.

Andrews says this should roll out around September, but you can expect a lot more information before then. ShotSpotter will initially will be deployed for three square miles of the city – but the exact location has not yet been determined.

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