Quiet ShotSpotter contract renewal prompts organizers to question and rally against DPC – The Columbia Chronicle
Community members and organizers campaigning against the audio surveillance system, ShotSpotter, gathered in Englewood for a rally and education demanding termination of the ShotSpotter contract with the City of Chicago.
The gathering and teaching at the 7th District Headquarters of the Chicago Police Department, 1438 W. 63e St., occurred on August 19, the day the $ 33 million contract was scheduled to expire. Community organizers learned just weeks before the rally and teaching that the contract had already been extended in December 2020, according to CBS Chicago.
“We felt the contract was due to expire [Aug. 19]”said Alyx Goodwin, a community organizer with Defund CPD, “However, by December CPD had already extended the contract for two years.”
Organizers also call for ShotSpotter’s budget to be reinvested in the Book of Peace and the Community Restoration Ordinance and in stop the closed-door negotiations with the Fraternal Order of the Police.
“It seems like things happen, millions of dollars of money [are] just thrown in the police without any say in or input from the community, ”said Tynetta Hill-Muhammed, a community organizer with Defund CPD and BYP100.
Goodwin said residents of southern and western Chicago are looking for accommodation, a job, quality health care and education.
“The CPD continues to inflate the police department’s budget and spend our tax dollars as it sees fit,” Goodwin said.
Goodwin said organizers had spoken to the press and city council for at least two months before August 19 and that no one knew anything about the renewal until she received an email from a freelance journalist. and Natalie Rivera, City Cast podcast producer.
The email led Goodwin to the City of Chicago website where the original ShotSpotter contract with CPD is posted, showing an amendment with a new end date of August 19, 2023, awarded in December 2020.
According to Goodwin, no one knows when the modification has been published.
“It just doesn’t make sense that a contract worth over $ 30 million is extended without any contribution from the community,” Hill-Muhammed said.
On August 4, the Chronicle asked CPD spokesperson Thomas J. Ahern about the renewal of the contract which was is due to expire on August 19, 2021. He said he did not know the status.
The Chronicle contacted Ahern again on August 20 after learning of the contract extension. Ahern did not provide any further information and directed a Chronicle reporter to the city’s procurement services department.
After speeches from community organizers last week, rally attendees were to break up into groups for a teaching activity and find potential ShotSpotters in the area.
The activity was halted by two Englewood residents questioning the intention of the event and the community members in attendance.
“The people of Englewood are suffering, just as blacks in the south and west are suffering,” Hill-Muhammed said. “People are losing family members, they are losing friends, they are losing comrades all the time. “
Hill-Muhammed said there was a combination of frustrations that led to their intentions being questioned and they invited both residents who criticized the protesters for rethink their accusations by joining their spaces and learn more about their work.
The situation was respectfully reduced and the event ended early.
Goodwin said the continuation of the campaign depends on the city’s stance on the continuation of the contract.
“We will push back any budget that appropriates money to continue the ShotSpotter contract,” Goodwin said.