New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and acting Attorney General Andrew Bruck recently announced that $7 million would be allocated to gunshot detection technology to help reduce gun violence.
According to a statement from Murphy’s office, the technology consists of three systems: “an acoustic detection system, a video management system and an automatic license plate reader system.”
“Combating gun violence is a multifaceted problem that requires a multifaceted approach,” Murphy said in a release. “The funding announced today will provide resources to both law enforcement agencies and community partners, equipping them with much-needed resources as we continue to fight the epidemic of gun violence.”
Also announced was the allocation of $8.2 million in state grants to 25 community organizations in 15 municipalities for violence intervention programs.
Gunshot detection systems have become a popular tool for law enforcement agencies across the U.S., but they are also controversial — especially where they overlap with communities of color.
“Communities considering this tech need to ask hard questions,” said Jay Stanley, a senior policy analyst for the American Civil Liberties Union Speech, Privacy and Technology Project.
Stanley urges communities to consider the potential negative side effects of this technology in certain communities and the potential for false alarms.
“Police typically install this type of technology in communities of color and historically Spanish communities,” Stanley noted.
The concern, he explained, is that false alarms mean police are sent into communities on high alert, increasing the risk of fraught encounters with law enforcement.
Katya Maruri is a staff writer for Government Technology. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a master’s degree in global strategic communications from Florida International University.
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