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Mayor’s budget calls for more cops, gunshot locators, rail investment

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On Friday, Mayor Mike McGinn’s proposed 2013-14 budget called for public safety investments, including adding 10 more police officers purchasing a gunshot locator system.

The budget also seeks to dedicate $5 million to expand rail in the city.

The budget includes funding for an in-car police video equipment and data analysis and a portion of the budget is set in reserve to implement the 20/20 plan and the Seattle Police Department reform agreements with the Department of Justice.

McGinn said that hiring new officers and investing in new tools would help ensure public safety in the city.

“These additional positions will go into patrol,” McGinn said at a news conference. “That’s the portion of our police force that responds to 911 calls, that’s out in the community on the beat helping to keep the city safe.”

The addition of 10 officers in 2013 would bring the SPD’s officers to 1,310 from 1,300 in 2012. The cost to add the officers is about $1 million a year.

The gunshot locator system, which costs $950,000 over a period of two years for installation and operation, would allow the city to install up to 52 mobile gunshot locator units that have a minimum 600-foot radius range and the ability to stream video. The locators would be placed in “hot spots” throughout the city. The locators are also mobile, and can be moved in response to events or changes in crime patterns.

The locator’s technology can determine if a gunshot has occurred within 4/10ths of a second, pinpoint the location within a 50-foot radius and determine the caliber of weapon that was fired with an accuracy rate of 90 percent.

“The ability to identify exactly where it occurred, be able to pull video from any video camera, public or private that might be available to help identify the suspect, you know, to vector in on the scene rapidly really increases the chances of apprehension,” McGinn said.

The budget will also propose improvements to SPD’s in-car video program, replace som aging mobile data terminals and add to SPD’s crime analysis capabilities by adding staff to analyze the data. The investments are to provide better public access to police videos.

The proposed budget also includes $5 million annually to implement the 20/20 reform plan and implement the settlement agreements with the DOJ. The full scope of the cost to implement will not be known until the monitor and Community Police Commission, requirements of the Settlement Agreement, are in place.

“Ultimately, how we solve things is those three things — good cops, technology and community — and we’re going to continue to push information out, continue to keep the victims in the mind of the community and that’s how we’ll solve these cases,” Seattle Police Chief John Diaz said.

The mayor will announce the entire details of his proposed budget Sept. 24.

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