Dover officials nix ShotSpotter use

DOVER — City officials shot down the idea of adding technology designed to locate gunfire on Tuesday night to aid police.

Presenting information on the ShotSpotter system, Dover Police Maj. Marvin Mailey also rated its need as a “1 or 2” on a scale of 10 regarding top priorities. He maintained money would be better spent on adding equipment, cameras and officers to the department.

ShotSpotter costs $195,000 annually, though federal grant money was projected to cover costs. Council President Tim Slavin was concerned that funding would evaporate after a couple years, threatening the city’s overall budget.

Councilman Jim Hosfelt, a former Dover police chief, believes adding downtown security cameras would better serve the community, and thinks the frequency of residents calling 911 still meets law enforcement’s needs.

Councilman James Hutchison, also a former police chief, believed in addressing other priorities.

Plus, Maj. Mailey said, ShotSpotter’s three-square mile coverage was just a small part of a city experiencing gun violence throughout various areas.

Wilmington currently uses ShotSpotter, but also has limited cooperation from residents who call in gunfire reports to police. Maj. Mailey met with Atlantic City, New Jersey, Police, who cautioned that “in the first year the city bore a lot of cost and (federal funding) kicks in (during the second year.

According to city police, Wilmington reported a 42 percent decline in shots fired and shooting incidents; Mr. Slavin and Mr. Hosfelt both said Dover’s situation can’t be correlated to what’s happened in Delaware’s largest city.

“To me, it still seems like we have community involvement,” Mr. Hosfelt said.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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