A graphic from the Shot Spotter website.

A graphic from the Shot Spotter website.

Homestead City Council met at its Committee of the Whole meeting on Wednesday June 15 and accepted a grant for a gunfire detection system pilot program.

Council first accepted a grant award of $320,020 from the Florida Department of Health for the first year of a gunshot detection and community outreach program. No matching funds were required for the grant.

Council discussed a contract for the “acoustical listening system” that relies on triangulation to identify gunfire. The contract includes two possible one-year extensions for $250,000 each.

Ron Jacobs, Sales Director of Shot Spotter Inc., is an eleven-year veteran of his police department. He said the system is guaranteed to detect ninety percent of gunfire with its algorithms, distinguishing it from fireworks and other noises. In fact, the company’s success rate is over 99 percent.

The company relies on sound wavelengths to identify gunfire.

Each incident is reviewed by an online trained employee.

Notice to local police is provided within thirty-eight seconds on average.

The system can give vehicle direction of travel from which guns were fired.

No data is retained, avoiding legal privacy issues.

No new hardware, software, or personnel is required beyond the initial set-up.

Currently, 125 Florida municipalities use this service including Miami-Dade County.

Areas without the system say eighty percent of gunfire goes unreported.

Because of the grant covering installation and one year of service, Council committed to a pilot program with Shot Spotter with a unanimous vote.

Council also approved a request for $131,500 in funding to refurbish the Harris Field gymnasium; resurfacing the gym, repainting lines, repairing the air conditioning, and restoring the bleachers. The cost is to be paid for with sale of City property at 191 NW 11th Street. There was some discussion about use of the remaining property that City staff said might have a party interested in fixing it for re-use.

However, there are no active plans for the Harris Field pool.

Councilmember Jenifer Bailey said, “Because of the lack of indoor gyms in the southwest, I’d fight to support a repaired facility.”

Councilmember Erica Avila also supported the project, saying, “The

potential maximum use of the old facility is a real benefit and emphasizes healthy athleticism.”

An agenda item from the CRA meeting for City landscape maintenance services with Brightview for $747,586 with two one-year potential renewals was adopted by a vote of five to two, Losner and Fletcher voting no.

In other business, Council approved sale of City surplus property with an online auction, replacing the control house roof at the McMinn electrical substation for $78,844, extending the rental of a garbage side-loader truck for $120,000, and supplementing the consulting agreement for $125,000 with the company negotiating for the City’s lease of the old City Hall site.

A request to renew a lease agreement for four police motorcycles at a cost of $106,669 over three years was approved. Council was told the

motorcycles are not used on a daily basis for patrol but primarily for

ceremonial purposes, and are not used in inclement weather.

Without discussion, two agreements for the City’s traffic control jurisdiction for police enforcement on private streets in two community associations were

approved unanimously. The communities are Malibu Bay and Estates at Mendocino at Malibu Bay.

Council also agreed to apply for a $107,500 grant from the Florida Division of Historical Resources for waterproofing and painting improvements at the Seminole Theatre. The grant requires the City to match the funding designated to come from the General Fund.

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