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The controversial technology to detect gunshots has both supporters and opponents.

COURTESY PHOTO: KOIN 6 NEWS - A ShotSpotter system in use.A plan to start up a controversial program designed to detect and locate gunshots is now moving forward in Portland.

Mayor Ted Wheeler's staff told the Portland Police Bureau Focused Intervention Team's community oversight group on Thursday, Sept. 22, that he will bring a proposal to the City Council to adopt the ShotSpotter technology. The group had previously approved the use of the technology.

ShotSpotter is technology from a national company designed to identify and locate gunshots using microphones placed in neighborhoods, which are then transmitted to the police. Portland leaders hope this tool can reduce growing gun violence.

KOIN 6 News learned Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell got the mayor to agree to implement the technology on a trial basis.

The mayor's office said Wheeler intends to do community outreach to put together the pilot project — including gathering ideas of where to set up the technology in Portland.

"We will be putting together a proposal to bring to council, we will be working with council offices and making outreach to the community to determine the details of what that pilot may look like," said Stephanie Howard, Mayor Wheeler's director of community safety.

It will be up to the council to decide whether to approve the pilot project, but it is not clear when that vote will happen.

Meanwhile, there's also opposition against ShotSpotter with some calling it "big brother surveillance." There are also issues about its accuracy and questions about whether it would be used to target members of the BIPOC community.

"This isn't going to work, and it's a waste of money. What we should be doing is actually looking at the officers we have and looking at the systemic change that can happen within PPB, and perhaps working towards a more equitable solution, working towards a less racist solution. And you may actually get more cops," said Kat Mahoney, a legal observer for the ACLU of Oregon. So far, there have been more than 950 shootings in Portland in 2022 with almost 300 people injured and at least 60 deaths.

KOIN 6 News is a news partner of the Pamplin Media Group.

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