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Cooper Says Lack of Computers Delayed Shotspotter

Levy disputes legislator's account.

Outgoing Suffolk Legislative Majority Leader Jon Cooper said Tuesday that the technology designed to quickly identify the location of gunshots was delayed by a lack of computers needed to accept and transmit data.

The computers are now in place, Cooper said, and he expects the final work to put the system into use to be completed this week.

Cooper, whose 18th Legislative District includes the site of the , said that the installation of the Shotspotter sensors was proceeding ahead of schedule but he was notified Oct. 27 that the department lacked the seven computers necessary to take in and transmit data.

He said the department didn't have the $6,322.25 needed for desktop computers and peripherals but that John Ortiz of the Suffolk County Legislature's Budget Review Office was able to locate several surplus computers.

He said the department's call about the money had stunned him. "This is an abject failure of leadership on the part of (County Executive Steve) Levy and Police Commissioner (Richard) Dormer," Cooper said. "This is not a reflection on the department. All the midlevel people in the department have been fantastic."

Cooper said "after I picked myself up off the floor," he offered to write a personal check to ensure the would be able to obtain a computer to use in Huntington Station. "They found the computers but we lost three weeks in the process," he said.

But County Executive Steve Levy, in a statement provided by the Suffolk County Police Department, said, “This story is an outrageous fabrication by a publicity-hound legislator who is trying to distract from the egg he has on his face after issuing a press release informing the public that ShotSpotter was operational when we were still awaiting software from the vendor.”

Shotspotter did not return phone calls about the status of its work in Huntington Station.

The technology, which costs more than $450,000, is leased as a way to keep costs down and allows the service to be used in several other communities, including North Bellport and Wyandanch. The system works by triangulation, helping police to quickly identify the location of gunfire.

Cooper said the leasing arrangement required multiple discussions with numerous organizations, including school districts, towns and LIPA. "The last roadblock was LIPA over putting sensors near high voltage lines. So they decided not to put it on poles but on the arms. That’s town jurisdiction not LIPA," Cooper said.

The final step before the system is fully operational will involve a live fire test.

The three people shot Sunday were seated in a car near Lincoln Farms Apartments on East Ninth Street and First Avenue, when, police say, they were surrounded by a large number of men and shot. Police said the attack was gang-related.

Cooper leaves office this year because of term limits and will succeeded by Dr. William Spencer, an otolaryngologist at who also served a term at the Huntington Housing Authority.

Kim November 29, 2011 at 10:19 PM
We are leasing shotspotter? I like how Cooper is passing blame right on to the next guys that are leaving, Levy and Dormer. Cooper also knows perfectly well that he can't just write a check to pay for the computers so why he would say it? He wants to look like the good guy on his way out.
Robert W November 29, 2011 at 10:31 PM
Great 2011 technology with old surplus computers! Can't wait to see how this turns out!
JSC November 29, 2011 at 11:58 PM
Well, since Cooper wasn't told that the old computers couldn't handle the current ShotSpotter software, he went with the word of the county that the system was installed. Now they have the old computers with software that will work, and the county says it will take 3 weeks to be up and running! If you read various articles on this you will see that the information given depends on who is giving it! Thank god Levy and Dormer are going, all they've done is create political drama where it wasn't necessary.
William Murray November 30, 2011 at 12:17 AM
And they wonder why we question things they say!
Bill November 30, 2011 at 01:04 AM
Let's not forget that back in January, when Cooper and all the other politicians announced the system, we were told that it would be operational by the end of March. See the announcement below. http://huntington.patch.com/articles/shotspotter-to-make-its-debut There have been several publicly reported shootings in the coverage area since the end of March, and who knows how many unreported gunshots. The problem is that elected officials aren't held accountable, except at election time, and that just doesn't happen often enough. If installation of the ShotSpotter system were a project at a private company the project manager (Cooper) would have been fired by the end of April and his boss (Levy) would have been canned by the end of June. Instead, they are both still in office pointing fingers at each other. While both are gone soon, I hold little hope for their replacements. Our problems are bigger than the men we just elected.
Rick Byers November 30, 2011 at 04:27 AM
You can't blame Cooper for this. Levy is the guy who's been fighting ShotSpotter every step of the way. I'm just glad this system will be fully operational soon. It's going to make a real difference in Huntington Station.
2 Turn Tables November 30, 2011 at 12:14 PM
As much as I dislike Cooper politically, this isn't on him. You would have to assume that the SCPD would ensure that this system is installed properly. There is only so much Cooper can do. Does he have to inspect the computers to make sure they are plugged in? This is on the SCPD, as much as I would love to pin this on Jon "vote my way or else" Cooper. I have a Commodore 64 I am not using that I would be more than happy to donate.
Alison November 30, 2011 at 12:57 PM
I agree with Bill. Seeing politicians, both local and national, taking every opportunity to blame the other guy is getting very tiring. For once, just say the buck stops here and stop with all the drama.
Susan November 30, 2011 at 03:07 PM
Bill is correct. The installation of Spotshotter has been handled poorly and in the real world of business, those responsible would be terminated. Mr Cooper has to take some responsibility since he was the public official who made the announcement that Spotshotter was operational on Nov 16 when he knew on Oct 26 there was an issue with some basic hardware needs. Cooper made a public statement that Spotshotter was operational which was not accurate and no other elected officials at the TOH or County corrected it. That's concerning!
Larry November 30, 2011 at 06:18 PM
If anyone read today's Newsday, Coop the Dupe said the Spotshotter isn't the "magic bullet"! Good choice of words...what a boob! Haw many more days till this boob leaves office?...oh wait, his hand picked boob is his replacement!
Mike November 30, 2011 at 06:51 PM
If a vendor changes their technology approach mid-stream(or in this case, the 11th hour), then the Customer has to adjust. The only one not talking about the situation is the Vendor! Cooper shouldnt be stunned about a Department not having money, if he truly has a pulse on what is occuring in the County, he would know all of the Departments are out of money.
2 Turn Tables November 30, 2011 at 11:40 PM
I would like to know how they could have been out of money? For $4K? God help us!
CWGH December 06, 2011 at 04:46 PM
Because Mr. Cooper is set to be a lobbyist for the new SS branch of government, he gladly whipped out his checkbook and offered to pay........... What should asked here is $750,000 for a system that is leased and at the same tiume you have to provide the equipment......smells of complete garbage and stupiditty why anyone would buy into this sham. Police dept =$100,000+ per man can't police their way out of a paper bag and now in need of leased technology to detect shots fired in an area of about 4 square miles at best.

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