GREEN BAY, WI (WFRV) – The finance committee approved the allocation of nearly $1 million in the American Relief Plan Act or ARPA money for technology and officer recruitment to combat gun violence.
The number of shots fired calls has gone up steadily over the past year. The number of rounds fired in each instance has also nearly doubled according to Green Bay Police Chief Chris Davis.
Local 5 News was the first to give viewers a look at the NIBIN machine that helps investigators detect connections between crimes through the analysis of shell casings. Green Bay Police will also get software that helps officers pinpoint exactly where gunfire is located in order to respond sooner while out on patrol.
A special surveillance trailer has also been approved. It will be used instead of a military-style-looking vehicle in neighborhoods identified as hot spots.
“We’re going to be much better off focussing our resources on the people and the places where we’re having these issues,” Chief Davis told committee members Tuesday night. The chief says imposing sweeping policies city-wide can often create distrust in the community. He believes strongly in looking at the data to determine police action.
Included in the nearly $1 million allocations is recruiting and retention of officers.
Mayor Eric Genrich says that was a crucial component given the greater workload.
Last Thursday there were seven shots fired calls within one hour. Nobody was hit but there was property damage and neighbors responded with a flurry of emails to local leaders to do something.
Police arrested six suspects, seized five guns and one car allegedly connected to the gunfire.
Chief Davis said that attributing it all to drug and gang activity would be an oversimplification. He says many of the people they arrest in connection with gunfire, often consider themselves gang members but have no real affiliation to an organized criminal enterprise.
Some city hall sources also think there is a strong domestic violence component to the shots fired calls this year.
In the immediate aftermath of last week’s gun violence, patrols were increased in the neighborhoods where the crime happened.
The city’s also moving forward with a unit that is specially trained and dispatched to de-escalate situations when retaliation crimes could perpetuate the violence after that initial shooting call.
Mayor Genrich says the approach to making the community stronger has to go beyond law and order.
That includes another $6 million of ARPA money for housing and small business support.