LONG BEACH - Police funds set aside a year ago for a gunshot-detection system could be used to backfill officer overtime under a City Council resolution to be considered Tuesday.
The proposal, advanced by Councilman Patrick O'Donnell and Vice Mayor Robert Garcia, would shift the $350,000 that was appropriated in last year's budget for the "shot-spotting" technology and instead use it to place more officers in the field, as needed.
Exactly why the city has abandoned the technology - at least for now - is unclear. However, officials released a statement saying Long Beach remains interested in implementing such a system in the future.
"City management and the Police Department have engaged in exploratory discussions with various vendors who provide the technology to discuss goals and constraints that may factor into the city's decision to invest in a product," the statement read.
"These meetings have been invaluable in the search for a system that will be compatible with the city's sprawling urban environment. At this time, a cost-effective gunfire detection technology that meets these preliminary objectives does not exist."
Council members expressed concern about the amount of officer overtime included in the spending plan for current fiscal year that began Oct. 1.
Though $7 million was allotted for the purpose, the amount fell short of the $9 million to $10 million budgeted in previous years. In August, Long Beach Police Department Administrative Bureau Chief Braden Phillips projected that $10.3 million would be used for overtime by Sept. 30 for that fiscal year.
The excess was funded with salary savings from officer retirements, officials said.
When the council passed the 2013 budget on Sept. 4, it gave an additional $2.6 million to police to use for overtime and to soften cuts to gang unit officers and and neighborhood safety liaisons.
Cold case funding
Also Tuesday, the council is expected to accept $157,922 in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Justice that will be used to revive limited cold case investigation.
The Long Beach Police Department's Cold Case Unit was closed this past summer after its funding ran out.
LBPD Police Chief Jim McDonnell said in a memorandum that the federal money would be used for laboratory analysis of DNA samples and overtime hours to review unsolved cold case evidence.
Funding will run from Oct. 1 through March 31, 2014.
Officials didn't respond to a request for information on the scope of the cold case project.
Since the Cold Case Unit was reinstated in 2009, it has solved more than 30 cases among more than 900 unsolved files that date back to the 1940s, according to police officials. The unit solved its oldest case, that of a 58-year-old woman who was killed in North Long Beach in 1972, in August just as its funding ran out.
The council meets at 5 p.m. at City Hall, 333 W. Ocean Blvd.
A live broadcast can be viewed on Charter Communications Channel 3, Verizon FiOS Channel 21 and at www.longbeach.gov.