New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell recently assured me that there is nothing wrong with the ShotSpotter system, except that it doesn't always work so well. Mitchell said ShotSpotter has helped solve crimes but admits that sometimes it just lays there and does nothing.

When a domestic terrorist pumped eight rounds into the Yale Street apartment of a New Bedford Police officer, ShotSpotter just sat there like that old southern dawg that won't hunt. It didn't do its job. On several other recent occasions, ShotSpotter failed to notify police that shots had been fired. That includes a case where two individuals were, in fact, shot near Tallman Street. What's up with that?

What good is a ShotSpotter that won't spot shots? And to think, taxpayers shelled out $145,500 after renewing the city's annual contract with the ShotSpotter people. For that kind of money, they should post a lookout on top of the pole with a cell phone.

The ShotSpotter system was first installed by Mayor Scott Lang about 11 years ago and has been renewed every year since. Mitchell tells me at some point it might be worth considering discontinuing the service. But for now, ShotSpotter is staying where it is.

Mitchell says Fall River got rid of its SpotShotter system, as did most all other Massachusetts communities that were using the thing. For now, we're sticking with it, hoping that when shots ring out, it notifies someone.

It was only six days ago that Mitchell insisted nothing was wrong with SpotShotter, other than the fact that sometimes it doesn't work. I guess the guy in the bucket truck on Monday was just double-checking.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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