Minister Dames Lauds ShotSpotter Contract Signing

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Minister of National Security the Hon. Marvin Dames speaks during the Contract Signing Ceremony with ShotSpotter Technology at SLS Baha Mar on January 23, 2019. (BIS Photo/Eric Rose)

Minister of National Security the Hon. Marvin Dames said the signing between The Bahamas Government and ShotSpotter Technology was evidence of the Government’s commitment towards fulfilling its promise to equip The Bahamas’ law enforcement agencies with the best available technologies, to assist in the protection of citizens, visitors and national security. “When we came into office 20 months ago we immediately recognised the challenges faced and we remained focused on our commitment as a new Government to explore all measures possible, to assist in the reduction of the unacceptable levels of crime and to return our communities to sanctuaries of peace,” Minister Dames said during the contract signing ceremony held at the SLS Baha Mar on January 23, 2019.

Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis also brought remarks at the ceremony. Among those present included a number of Cabinet Ministers, Senators and Members of Parliament; Commissioner of Police Anthony Ferguson; Deputy Commissioner Emrick Seymour and other senior police officers; Commander of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force Commodore Tellis Bethel; Acting Commissioner of Correctional Services Charles Murphy; U.S. Charge d’Affaires Stephanie Bowers Stephanie Bowers and Deputy Chief of Missions Jamie Martin; and a number of senior Government officials. Acting Permanent Secretary Eugene Poitier signed the contract on behalf of the Bahamas Government with Gary Bunyard, Senior Vice President of Public Safety, ShotSpotter Technology, representing the company.

There were also displays showcasing a number of crime-fighting initiatives being implemented by the Police Force. Minister Dames said the Government understood that any successful crime strategy must focus on a number of points, including the following: a well-trained and motivated Police Force; a Police Force that is respected by and is committed to the building of genuine partnerships with the communities it is mandated to serve; a Police Force that understands the importance of multi-agency relationships to the overall success in the crime fight; and the enactment of modern crime legislation to support the overall crime effort.

Also of importance, he continued, were adequate human resources consistent with population growth, national development and increased crime trends; the acquisition of modern equipment to ensure that officers are able to provide timely service to the communities they serve; and the use of modern and innovative crime fighting technology to assist in the overall crime fight. “This afternoon, our Government is pleased to have you here to witness the official signing of the ShotSpotter contract between the Government of The Bahamas and ShotSpotter Technology, SST,” Minister Dames. “This contract signing is a testament to our Government’s pledge to deliver on one of the promises outlined in our Party’s Manifesto: gunshot detection devices.”

Minister Dames stated that the Government was, indeed, pleased to be partnering with ShotSpotter Technology to introduce this technology to The Bahamas. “We have completed sufficient research and are satisfied that this technology will assist us in reducing the high numbers of gun related crime in The Bahamas,” Minister Dames said. “There is numerous evidence in the United States where this technology is aiding in the reduction of gunshot violence in high volume crime cities such as Chicago, where police are reporting double digit decreases in murders and shootings.”Minister Dames noted that according to Fox News Channel in 2018, the city of Chicago saw a 43 per cent drop in shootings in 2017 and largely credited the drop in violent crime in dangerous neighbourhoods, such as Englewood, due to the use of its ShotSpotter technology.

“A CNN report this month states that homicides have dropped for a second year in a row due to data driven policing combined with technology such as crime cameras and gunshot detection systems,” he pointed out. “Forbes online edition reported that in 2017 in Fresno, California a gunman walked up to a Pacific and Electric Gas Truck and shot to death the employee inside. “A ShotSpotter control room nearly 200 miles away detected the gunfire and alerted the police. Three people were killed by the gunman but he was in custody within four minutes and 13 seconds. The gunman fired 17 rounds and had lots more left but according to Police Chief Jerry Dyer and I quote: ‘That he did not kill other people was thanks to the ShotSpotter technology’, end quote.” Minister Dames explained that in 2018, Police Commissioner Ferguson led a team to Miami Dade and Miami Gardens Police Departments and saw first-hand the ShotSpotter Technology in use.

“We ourselves have seen a 25 per cent reduction in homicides in 2018 thanks to the men and women of The Royal Bahamas Police Force,” Minister Dames said. “This ShotSpotter Technology will only bolster the strategic efforts of the Royal Bahamas Police Force to combat gun-related crime and further aid in the reduction of crime in our country. ”He added: “In closing, as the Minister responsible for National Security, I would like to reinforce our Government’s commitment to the people of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas that we will remain steadfast and driven in our continued efforts to reducing the level of crime in our country and keeping our citizens safe.”

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