Johnson remains vague on ShotSpotter's fate as contract expires

The debate over Chicago's controversial gun detection system known as ShotSpotter appears to be moot Thursday as the contract expires in just hours.

When Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson was pressed Thursday about what happens next, answers were tough to come by.

"Hold on a second Jake, I'm going to answer your question. We're going to try and stay focused here, despite the disruption. When I've had conversations with those who operate and run ShotSpotter, from the very beginning we were very clear about what I announced — that is still in place," said Johnson.

At the latest mayoral press conference, Johnson's responses to reporters' direct questions could best be described as "vague."

In this instance, Johnson was unwilling to provide clarity on the fate of ShotSpotter, just hours before the city's contract with the company is set to expire.

A chorus of opposition against ShotSpotter has grown in recent years following the shooting death of Adam Toledo in Little Village and the release of a recent study by the Macarthur Justice Center at Northwestern School of Law. The study found 40,000 instances of dead-end ShotSpotter deployments in Chicago.

Johnson noted that several major cities, including Dallas, Atlanta and Philadelphia, have canceled ShotSpotter contracts. 

However, there are a handful of studies that support the technology, including one by the Department of Justice, which found that 80 percent of shots fired in field tests were accurately tracked by ShotSpotter.

Another unanswered question on Thursday was: With the Democratic National Convention now six months away, if not ShotSpotter, what type of tools will police rely on?

"I've been clear from the beginning that moving away and moving out was what I've made my commitment towards," said Johnson. "That commitment is still in place."

FOX 32 reached out to the company that owns the ShotSpotter technology, and the company saidwhile it tried to come to an agreement on an extension with the city of Chicago through this summer, a deal could not be reached.