We were glad to see that the Pleasantville Police Department has applied again for a grant to deploy a technology to detect the location of gunshots quickly enough for officers to respond. Last year, there were 31 reported shootings in the city and two shooting homicides.
The city was turned down last year in its quest for a $560,000 Technology Information for Public Safety grant from the U.S. Justice Department.
Police officials said they’ve already addressed one issue raised in response to that application, assigning a city detective to share intelligence with the State Police Regional Operations Intelligence Center and help the center assist on investigations in the city.
This year’s application is seeking a $400,000 grant to install and start operating the ShotSpotter system, which uses a computerized network of microphones to quickly map gunshots for officers in their police cars or on their smartphones.
The application has an impressive lineup of supporters, including Sen. Cory Booker, Rep. Frank LoBiondo, the FBI, the Coalition For Safer Communities, the Atlantic County Department of Public Safety, the county Prosecutor’s Office and the Atlantic City Police Department. This newspaper will continue backing Pleasantville’s effort to secure the technology until it succeeds.
Last year there were 60 applications nationwide for TIPS grants, and six were awarded for $500,000 each, Pleasantville police said.
While the city is optimizing its application to the program, maybe it also can pursue funding under another, also challenging grant program.
Many other cities nationwide seek ShotSpotter funding through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Emergency Safety and Security program. Last year, there were 172 applications for those grants seeking a total of $32.7 million.
Like the Justice Department program, few applications succeeded — just $5 million was awarded. Unlike TIPS, the HUD program decided which applicants qualified and then chose the 24 that would win a grant by lottery.
If Pleasantville can apply to both at once, it should look into it. Two somewhat long shots at funding would be better than one.