Denver police test ShotSpotter system in Montbello, hope it will combat crime

Technology used in areas with the most shootings
Posted at 7:01 AM, Sep 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-22 00:54:32-04

DENVER -- Police officers fired guns in a Denver neighborhood Wednesday night to test out new technology.

The live fire exercise tested the ShotSpotter System, allowing police to pinpoint where a shooting happened.

During the test, members of the SWAT team fired guns in three locations around Montbello, located in northeast Denver. There was not any danger to the public because police fired shots into a device that catches bullets, no bullets were fired into the air or at the ground.

"The ShotSpotter system uses a network of acoustic sensors to detect when a gun is fired and then precisely and quickly pinpoints the location of the gunfire," Denver police said. "In less than a minute, ShotSpotter notifies 911 dispatchers of the incidents."

An alarming number of residents have become numb to the gunfire happening in their communities. According to police, 60 percent of the time no one is calling 911 to report hearing gunshots. The statistics are based on areas where this technology is already live.

Police said they are deploying ShotSpotter in communities with the greatest amount of gunfire.

The technology will automatically alert officers in their patrol cars, sometimes before dispatch can radio them. The sensors can provide police with a more accurate location, within an approximate 80 foot radius of the gunshot.

"I think that this is going to be beneficial so that we can actually get officers to the locations of these shootings, recover evidence," said Commander Ron Thomas, Denver Police District Five.

DPD started using ShotSpotter in early 2015 and is currently in the process of expanding the program.

"To maintain the integrity of the program, the locations of ShotSpotter detection devices are not publicly disclosed," police said.


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