Seattle Council favors more officers over technology for SPD

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by LINDA BRILL / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on November 1, 2012 at 5:14 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 1 at 5:27 PM

The Seattle Council on Thursday signaled it will not approve Mike McGinn's request for "shot finder" technology for the city's police dpeartment.
 
McGinn and Police Chief John Diaz wanted to buy the system, which can help locate the origin of gun shots. The technology would cost nearly $1 million over two years.

Critics say it's expensive, hasn't been adequately tested and could violate citizens' privacy.
 
Another piece of police technology -- drones -- looks like its headed for the dumpster. The Council's Budget Committee is likely to prohibit SPD from buying any more unmanned aerial vehicles. The department already has two drones it bought with funds from a federal grant and which they share with the King County Sheriffs Office.
 
Last week, public criticism of the drones intensified after SPD held a public forum to show off the technology. Once again, critics raised concerns about privacy and how the drones will be used.
 
A spokesman for Seattle City Councilmember Bruce Harrell said drone purchases will be prohibited until the council develops regulations for how they are deployed.
 
The council will also likely revise the Mayor's budget to fund 21 new police officers, up from McGinn's request for 20 officers.

The council will take a final vote on the police budget next week.

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