SACRAMENTO COUNTY — A program to help catch criminals in Sacramento County is being discontinued.
For roughly two years, ShotSpotter devices have helped the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office pinpoint where gunshots are being fired in certain neighborhoods.
However, the sheriff’s office said it won’t be able to keep the program running after 2020 because it simply doesn’t fit in their budget.
The sound of gunfire is nothing new for Phyllis Singletary, who lives in South Sacramento.
“Every day, sometimes two or three times a day,” she told FOX40. “We just pray that nothing comes through the walls.”
Oftentimes the loud bangs go unreported.
“Well if they report it, somebody is looking, ‘Did you report this? Did you report that?’” Singletary said.
It’s why the ShotSpotter program has been revolutionary for law enforcement across Sacramento County.
“Any tool that we can use to try and get ahead of things, respond quicker, get in front of issues just like this,” said Sacramento County Sheriff’s Sgt. Tess Deterding.
The Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office said the sensors led to 97 felony arrests just last year.
Despite the success, the sheriff’s office said it must cut the program.
“It boils down to money,” Deterding told FOX40.
The department had to cut roughly $4 million from its budget. First to go were the four deputies assigned to respond specifically to ShotSpotter pings.
“We don’t get to just say, ‘Everything is important, we’re not willing to cut anything,’ which, of course, would be the stance. But given that that scenario is not possible, you have to look at how these teams serve the community,” Deterding explained.
Jail staffing, emergency response times and a task force to focus on homelessness issues took priority.
The ShotSpotter program will run out of the Sacramento County Emergency Dispatch Center until 2020, when the county’s contract with ShotSpotter is up. At that point, the contract will not be renewed.
“Because at the end of the day, the cuts have to come from somewhere,” Sgt. Deterding said.
Singletary just hopes the cuts won’t mean more criminals left on the streets — and in her neighborhood.
“We just keep praying that everything will get better because what’s going on now in the world, we never know,” she said.
The Sacramento Police Department also has its own ShotSpotter program, which they plan to keep running in city limits. Tuesday night, city council approved nearly $500,000 to keep the monitoring systems running.