Tierney Wants ShotSpotter Program Restored in Suffolk

District Attorney Ray Tierney said Thursday that he wants to restore ShotSpotter to Suffolk County.

Addressing the legislature’s public safety committee, Tierney said that his office needs funding to deploy the technology that uses microphones to listen for the sounds of gunfire and triangulates their location. Proponents say the technology allows police officers to respond more quickly to reports of gunfire.

The technology was deployed to Huntington Station in 2011, and was in use in 2016.

While many residents and businesses in Huntington Station welcomed the technology, others thought its use created a negative impression of the community.

“Everyone recognizes the danger of gun violence to vulnerable communities following the events
in Buffalo and Uvalde. We have a duty to protect all the People in all of the communities in
Suffolk County,” Tierney said.

“We are doing that by meeting with law enforcement and school personnel to safeguard our
children. Along with police and our Sheriff, we are meeting with religious leaders to safeguard
our temples, churches and mosques. We are meeting with community leaders to safeguard our
vulnerable residents.

“A gunfire detection system such as Shot Spotter will help to protect vulnerable communities
traditionally under-served by law enforcement. Statistics show that these same communities are
besieged by gunfire at a staggeringly higher rate than other communities in Suffolk County.”

“To the extent anyone believes that crime is falling in Suffolk County they are mistaken – this is
simply not the case when index crime stats are examined.

Tierney said ShotSpotter was removed in 2019. “In 2020, there was a sharp increase as shooting incidents doubled.”

In 2021, “Shootings continued to increase another 34% …” 2020 and 2021 had the highest numbers of shootings in the last 10 years. In 2020-2021, after removal of Shot Spotter there were 637 shootings – 272 in 2020 and 365 in 2021. 128 people shot and 32 gun deaths,” Tierney said. “2022 is on track for an even worse outcome. So far looking at the Year-to-Date numbers for 2022, there have been at least 28 people shot and 9 of those persons have died. That is a 50% increase over 2021.”


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