Here are four interesting items on Thursday’s Fresno City Council consent calendar:
1.) The administration of Mayor Lee Brand wants the green light to expand the city’s ShotSpotter coverage by 2.26 square miles.
ShotSpotter is the trademark of a private sector gunshot location system. The council in 2015 authorized Chief Jerry Dyer to bring the crime-fighting tool to Fresno. The initial coverage area was three square miles. That was doubled to six square miles in 2017.
Fresno Unified in 2016 signed a deal with ShotSpotter to provide three square miles of coverage around schools in high-crime areas. The coverage was doubled in 2017 to six square miles.
Fresno covers 114 square miles.
“Based on Fresno Police crime data, only 29.79 percent of gunfire is reported to the department without ShotSpotter,” says a staff report. “The full deployment of the ShotSpotter system has allowed analysis of gunshot patterns and trends to drive directed patrols and predictive policing.”
The latest proposed expansion of ShotSpotter comes courtesy of the Transportation Department. The plan is to use $440,700 from a Proposition 1B Transit Security Grant to provide ShotSpotter service along Blackstone Avenue from Ashlan Avenue in the north to Belmont Avenue in the South. The deal would be for three years.
This stretch of Blackstone is part of the new Bus Rapid Transit route. Since we’re talking about coverage in terms of square miles, I’m assuming the ShotSpotter coverage would extend to the west about as far as Van Ness/Maroa and to the east about as far as Fresno Street.
The launching of the much-touted BRT system obviously is the reason Transportation wants to fund something like ShotSpotter. Thursday’s proposal shows how local institutions can use various pots of restricted funds – schools and public transit, for example – to help Fresno’s cops better do their jobs while relieving some of pressure on City Hall’s general fund.
2.) Dyer wants the council’s OK to enter into an agreement with the Fresno County Department of Behavioral Health that would boost the capabilities of CIT.
CIT stands for Crisis Intervention Team. CIT was started last fall by the Police Department. The department each year responds to thousands of calls for service involving people with mental health issues. The idea: A.) PD and County Mental Health combine resources and talent where appropriate; B.) Certain designated cops get special training in dealing with mentally troubled people; C.) CIT helps people in crisis get appropriate services.
The proposed deal before the council involves $247,600 from the county. The money will pay for things such as equipment and training.
3.) Public Works wants the council’s OK to apply for Measure C grants dispensed by the Fresno Council of Governments. The grants are for transit-oriented infrastructure to spur in-fill development.
One of the grants would be for a mixed-use/affordable housing project at Fulton and Inyo, at the south end of what used to be Fulton Mall.
The other grant would be for a mixed-use/affordable housing project on Blackstone near McKinley.
It’s the second grant that I find intriguing. The Brand Administration has high hopes for the mixed-use project at Blackstone/McKinley. The ShotSpotter service provided by Transportation in that area can’t hurt the project’s chances for success.
4.) Last but not least on my list, Public Works will seek council authorization to apply for two Caltrans Sustainable Transportation Planning grants.
One of them would pay for “Wayfinding Plan” for the city’s network of trails.
The second potential grant is the one I like. City Hall wants to study how to get maximum success out of the “reverse triangle” in the southern part of town.
From the staff report: “The overarching goal of the project would be to engage partners from multiple jurisdictions in identifying needs and planning for the infrastructure necessary to support continued economic growth and prosperity.”
The “reverse triangle” is home to the Amazon and Ulta Beauty fulfillment centers. As I wrote on Wednesday for CVObserver, the “reverse triangle” is only one piece (a vital piece, to be sure) of a much larger pattern of expected growth in Southeast and Southwest Fresno.
Let’s hope that Scott Mozier and his team at Public Works will eventually incorporate the bigger region into their planning.