OAKLAND -- Councilwoman Rebecca Kaplan, who may run against Mayor Jean Quan this November, co-authored a sharply worded letter to the mayor Tuesday urging her to not defund the city's popular gunshot detection system.

The letter from Kaplan and Councilman Larry Reid warns Quan that they will vote against any revised budget plan this June that eliminates funding for ShotSpotter.

Quan's spokesman, Sean Maher, said the council members had nothing to fear.

"The mayor is supportive of ShotSpotter and has no plans to cut funding to it," he said.

While the city's $348,000-a-year contract for the service expires at the end of August, Maher said interim Chief Sean Whent will seek to renew it.

SST ShotSpotter’s Scott Beisner points to a demonstration screen of their real-time gunshot date used in their incident review center in Newark on
SST ShotSpotter's Scott Beisner points to a demonstration screen of their real-time gunshot date used in their incident review center in Newark on June 25, 2013. ShotSpotter's gunshot detection technology is used by Oakland and East Palo Alto police along with many other law enforcement agencies nationwide. (Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group)

Concern over the system's future began earlier this month when Whent told the council that keeping it was "not at the top of my priority list."

Police also would like money to restore their helicopter program, which costs more than $500,000 a year.

The council approved spending additional funds two years ago to expand ShotSpotter and ensure that it functions properly despite Police Department staffing shortages.

Kaplan and Reid wrote that in one section of town ShotSpotter recorded 400 incidents of gunfire in one year, while police received only 65 calls reporting gunfire in the same area.

They also noted that the city's police force "is significantly smaller than the level funded and authorized by the Oakland City Council."


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The department is down to 612 officers -- just three above a 20-year staffing low. However, 47 trainees are scheduled to graduate from Oakland's police academy next week and join the force.

Contact Matthew Artz at 510-208-6435.