ShotSpotter says it has offered to install tech around United Center ahead of 2024 Chicago DNC

Mayor Brandon Johnson canceled contract with ShotSpotter earlier this year, but then agreed to extend it into the fall

Craig Wall Image
Wednesday, May 29, 2024
ShotSpotter looking to expand footprint ahead of Chicago DNC
ShotSpotter says it has offered to install its tech around the United Center ahead of the Chicago Democratic National Convention, or DNC, 2024.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- ShotSpotter is looking to expand its footprint in Chicago in advance of the Democratic National Convention. Advocates say it could help with security.

ShotSpotter says it has offered to install its gunshot detection technology around the United Center for free. The company believes it could help supplement the security during the Chicago DNC.

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The area around the United Center is currently a ShotSpotter-free zone because, when the city first started using the technology, gunfire was not a problem in that part of the city.

But, with the DNC coming to Chicago in August, the company has now pitched the idea to the city's Public Safety Administration to expand the use of ShotSpotter.

"We wanted to do whatever we could to provide our service to help the Chicago Police Department, Secret Service, first responders, be able to identify the precise source location of the gunfire as quickly as possible," said Gary Bunyard, ShotSpotter vice president of corporate development.

Mayor Brandon Johnson canceled the contract with ShotSpotter earlier this year, but then agreed to extend it into the fall.

He recently insisted that decision had nothing to do with the DNC in August.

SEE ALSO: Mayor Johnson, Chicago City Council disagree on who can end use of ShotSpotter technology

"Where the DNC is primarily held, where the delegates will primarily be, ShotSpotter's not in many of the neighborhoods where they'll be, so it has nothing to do with those four or five days," Johnson said.

But, former Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, who is working with ShotSpotter's lobbyist, believes, with so many protests planned around the United Center, ShotSpotter could be a good tool for police.

"ShotSpotter would absolutely fill, in regards to if someone is shooting in those areas. And then, you might potentially see a pattern of folks shooting in those areas; so, the police could adjust their resources and deploy to those areas a lot quicker," Johnson said.

ShotSpotter's VP said he's pitched their offer several times to his contact in the Public Safety Administration, but it appears to be going nowhere.

"I've had several conversations with him regarding this offer, and have followed up with him on several occasions, but have not received a response yet," Bunyard said.

If the city wants to take ShotSpotter up on its offer, the company said a decision would have to be made quickly to allow time to get the technology set up and ready for the DNC.

In a statement Wednesday, the mayor's office said, "The Mayor has been clear that beyond the current extension with ShotSpotter, the City will be pursuing alternative strategies. The Mayor's Office has no intention of expanding the presence or footprint of ShotSpotter in Chicago."

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