Pleasantville, NJ, Police Chief Sean Riggin said he was already talking about how to implement a $195,000-per-year gunshot-audio detection system an hour after the polls closed Tuesday night.
“We have a ton of friends in the community, which is why we got the support we did,” Riggin said Wednesday, reports the Press of Atlantic City.
The unofficial vote showed 1,566, or more than 70 percent, of residents voted yes on a ballot question for the city to spend $195,000 per year for the next three years to purchase the ShotSpotter system, according to the Atlantic County Clerk’s Office website.
For homeowners, that means an increase of about 2.5 cents on the municipal property-tax rate. Residents with a home assessed at $100,000 would pay about $25 more per year.
In 2016, city police received 109 shots-fired calls, Riggin said, and the number has continued to decrease, with 80 in 2017 and 38 so far this year. However, the number of recorded gunshots fired in the city is likely to increase with the system in place, he said, because ShotSpotter will report all of them, even ones residents don’t call in to police.
City Council approved the ballot question in July after years of not being picked for federal or other grants to fund it. It will be the eighth municipality in the state with the technology, joining neighboring Atlantic City, which went live with its system in 2013. Pleasantville is the first municipality in the country to put the technology before a referendum, Mayor Jesse Tweedle Sr. said.
"It gives you an idea of what our vision is, how proactive we are, how creative we are," he said. "I'm very proud of our police department, and I'm very proud of the residents of Pleasantville. It's indicative of how we work with our residents and the way we work with the community."