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Assembly Republicans get behind expanding Milwaukee's ShotSpotter program

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - State Assembly Republicans have changed their minds about not expanding a program that tells Milwaukee Police where gunshots are being fired.  

Speaker Robin Vos said Thursday that his house will vote next month on adding $175,000 for ShotSpotter -- a network of sensors that shows police where gunshots are being fired in real time.

Last year, Majority Republicans refused to budget $445,000 to expand the coverage area for the ShotSpotter system.  

It currently covers a radius of three square miles. The proposed new state funding, along with local money, would expand the area to 10 square miles.  

Mayor Tom Barrett and Police Chief Ed Flynn kept lobbying state lawmakers for the program, even after the funding was dropped a year ago. Barrett said he knew lawmakers would be sold on it, once they saw it.  

Police say the ShotSpotter has partially resulted in solving 14 Milwaukee homicides.  

Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald said he's seen the unit in action -- and he'd support state funding, although others in his chamber would have to get up to speed on it.  Scott Walker's office says the governor supports the partial funding restoration.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)