Hauppauge, NY: At the October 11th general meeting of the Suffolk County Legislature, Legislator Stephanie Bontempi (R-18th L.D.) and her colleagues voted unanimously in favor of funding for the installation of ShotSpotters in key areas throughout Suffolk County. Soon after the vote, Bontempi joined her legislative colleagues, various government officials, members of the community (including mothers who lost children to shootings) at a press conference led by Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond Tierney to make the official announcement.
The unanimous vote was not a surprise to anyone following the issue with even casual scrutiny, as Tierney has vigorously advocated for the technology, touting its pros and improvements over prior iterations. As just one example of its many benefits, the ShotSpotter system will quickly convey precise information related to shootings to the proper authorities, even without someone calling 911; this is crucial in today’s environment in which many individuals are hesitant to call the police.
“This technology has the ability to fight crime and save lives,” said Bontempi. “ShotSpotters will be able to determine when and where a shooting has taken place, with accuracy within a few feet or so. This data can be absolutely essential when reconstructing a crime, or for locating a victim of a shooting without necessarily relying on a complaint being called in.”
A noteworthy aspect of this public safety inspired legislation is the fact that a good portion of the ShotSpotter program funding will come from money freed up via the repeal of the campaign finance board. The repeal was initially vetoed by the Suffolk County executive, but the legislature mustered the requisite votes to overcome it in July of this year.
“The most important part of managing a government is spending money wisely,” explained Bontempi. “It was a no-brainer to abolish the campaign finance board as it certainly would not improve our quality of life. The people have made it clear that public safety is the paramount concern, not funding political campaigns against their will. We made the right decision to invest in public safety.”
The areas slated for ShotSpotter installations include, but are not necessarily limited to Huntington Station, North Amityville, Wyandanch, Brentwood, Bay Shore, Central Islip, Coram, Gordon Heights, North Bellport, Shirley and Mastic Beach.
Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond Tierney (at the podium) speaks about ShotSpotter technology prior to the critical vote.
Legislator Bontempi (front row, third from right), legislative colleagues, government officials and members of the community (including mothers who lost children to shootings) gather at a press event.