SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Outside of City Hall Wednesday morning, Democratic mayoral candidate Michael Greene called for the City of Syracuse to reinstate its ShotSpotter program, a tool to help get ahead of violent crime.
However, moments ahead of the press conference, the Syracuse Police Department sent out a release that said the program is being reinstated and should be fully operational by next week.
Greene, a Syracuse City Common Councilor, still demanded the immediate restoration of the program and expressed his thoughts on the decision to get rid of ShotSpotters for the time being.
“There is a time for discussion and collaboration, and there is a time for action. This moment requires decisive leadership. It is well past time for the mayor to take action to restore this essential crime-fighting tool,” Greene explained.
What I would have recommended is that those officers that are not directly responding to crime and reducing crime in their neighborhoods, they could have been furloughed, rather than the ShotSpotter program.Michael Greene, Democratic Mayoral Candidate, Syracuse
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the program was cut from the city’s $18.1 million from the budget last year.
In Mayor Ben Walsh’s budget address to the Common Council last week, he announced the program’s return with the help of federal funding.
On April 2, Greene sent a memo demanding the immediate restoration of the ShotSpotter program to Mayor Ben Walsh and his administration.
NewsChannel 9 reached out to the other mayoral candidates for statements regarding the ShotSpotter program.
Syracuse Common Councilor and other Democratic candidate, Khalid Bey’s statement reads…
“While ShotSpotter itself does not prevent crime (because response is after the fact), it is and has been a useful tool for the police department to accurately identify a location where shots may have been fired,” — Khalid Bey
One of Walsh’s Republican challengers, Thomas Babilon, said the following…
“The ShotSpotter system is a time tested technology that has been used by municipalities for decades to report when and where gunshots originate. The Program had been used in Syracuse very effectively since 2016 and it had become a vital tool for police response. It was extremely disappointing when Mayor Walsh made a determination to eliminate the program last year. While I am very happy that the City has decided to reinstate the program, at an annual cost of only $260,000.00, the program was very cost efficient for the service that it provided, and it never should have been eliminated to begin with. This is just another example of many as to how the current administration has failed the City’s residents on the issue of public safety,” — Thomas Babilon
Republican candidate Janet Burman said the following in response to the SpotShotter program….
“Walsh, Bey, and Greene share responsibility for the cuts to the Syracuse Police Department that resulted in the shutdown of the shots fired monitoring system, ShotSpotter. Sadly, the Mayor and Common Council continue to react to what has taken place, when they should recognize that public safety is the first responsibility of government and it will be my first priority as mayor. As I predicted yesterday, my mayoral opponents are now calling for a limited use of the incoming federal funds for public safety. But restarting the Shot Spotter program is not enough. The Police Department’s funding should be increased to a level that will maximize available overtime service; allow the purchase of new patrol vehicles; and support every program deemed necessary to fight the growing scourge of violent crime in our city,” — Janet Burman
For more information on the ShotSpotter program, click here.