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.