After more than a decade in use, the city of Youngstown is considering replacing its ShotSpotter gunfire sensor technology with something else.

The city safety committee, police chief Carl Davis and other high-ranking YPD officials, the law director and council members met Thursday to go over potential alternatives.

"It has served its purpose, but I believe it to be outdated now," Chief Davis said of the current ShotSpotter system. The city recently renewed an agreement for maintenance and monitoring of the ShotSpotter equipment, which it owns, for another year at a cost of $77,214.

When Sixth Ward councilwoman Anita Davis asked Chief Davis what he suggested as an alternative, he said "the alternative is sitting here in the room - Flock Safety". The company is based in Atlanta.

Lieutenant Mohammad Awad agreed, saying that Flock could prove critical in helping solve homicide cases.

"It's a good service, I'm very happy with ShotSpotter, but I know our money is not never-ending, so I'd rather see maybe a different service available to help us solve some major crimes," Awad said Thursday. "That Lowellville double homicide (in November 2022), that person tried to flee the area, it came across a Flock camera...they were able to zero in on him immediately."

Laura Ann Holland, a representative from Flock, gave a presentation during the meeting, suggesting that if the goal is to solve more violent crimes, the company's vehicle recognition technology would pair very effectively with its newly-launched gunshot detection software, called "The Raven".

"It's not just the alert that a shot occurred, it's also the notice that a shot occurred and here are all the vehicles in the surrounding area at that time," Holland said.

That would help officers detect potential suspect vehicles in the seconds after a shooting, as Lieutenant Awad alluded to with the Lowellville double homicide. Flock would also send deployment teams to the city to help determine where the equipment and cameras should be set up.

The city already uses vehicle recognition technology from Blue Line for its school zone speed cameras, which just went live a couple weeks ago. Officials said during the meeting that they may consider supplementing that technology with new equipment from Flock, pairing Blue Line equipment with ShotSpotter, or getting rid of ShotSpotter altogether and moving forward with new platforms.

The cost of a Flock setup is comparable to what the city is paying now for ShotSpotter.

"Let's say $75,000 - that could get you two square miles of "Raven", plus 10 vehicle recognition cameras," Holland said during the meeting Thursday.

Some at the meeting raised ethical concerns about the storage of data collected by the Flock system, while Limbian asked about the ability to retain data for longer periods for things like cold cases.

The data relevant to an investigation or incident can be downloaded, but everything else is deleted after 30 days, Holland said, adding that the company has not faced any litigation to this point.

The committee and police chief did not make any decisions at Thursday's meeting; law director Jeff Limbian told 21 News that he's "sure a demonstration will be needed", referring to the Flock outfit, before anything would be decided.