POCOMOKE CITY: Police chief touts high-tech patrolling

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Arthur Hancock

BY JANET BERNOSKY, Eastern Shore Post —

Pocomoke City Police Chief Arthur Hancock told the city council on Monday, March 18, that he is committed to using the latest technologies to achieve what he calls “proactive policing in the 21st century.”

“If you are going to commit a crime in Pocomoke City, we will arrest you, and our state’s attorney will prosecute you,” he said.

Hancock cited the ShotSpotter system, which can identify gunshots and pinpoint locations with increased accuracy while reducing response time for officers to arrive at the scene.

Through a system of strategically placed acoustic sensors, ShotSpotter has the ability to distinguish gunshots from other loud impact sounds, such as fireworks or vehicle backfires.

Hancock said the system can also determine the type of weapon and if there are multiple shooters involved. It can also pinpoint location estimates to within 90 feet.

Once it has determined that shots have been fired, the system delivers this information directly to an officer’s cellphone or laptop within 60 seconds or less.

Hancock is also requesting eight new surveillance cameras, in addition to the six already in operation. For now, most will be placed in high-crime areas, but Hancock’s ultimate goal is to strategically place them to create a perimeter around the city limits.

ShotSpotter has an annual price tag of $49,500. The estimated cost for new cameras and to service those already in operation, is between $75,000 and $90,000. Hancock said he will pursue grants to offset costs.

“This enables a new normal … to aid victims, collect evidence, secure a crime scene, and better protect our community,” Hancock said.

He also plans to ask for additional police officer positions during the upcoming budget cycle.

“We’ve watched Chief Hancock rebuild this department from the ground up,” Mayor Todd J. Nock said. “This is all a step in the right direction.”

— Pocomoke City is moving closer to establishing a facilities partnership with the Boys & Girls Club. Built on city-owned land, and owned by the city, the center would be leased to the club during its operational hours. At other times, the center could accommodate activities for other local groups.

— Council unanimously approved an ordinance to require landlords to register their rental properties with the city and obtain an annual license to operate, subject to inspections and compliance with building codes.

— An ordinance was introduced to establish a historic district in Pocomoke. The geographic area has already been defined and established by the National Register of Historic Places. The ordinance’s geographic area will be the same.

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